bureaud@altern.org on Wed, 9 Feb 2000 22:00:54 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Leonardo Sued!


French Association Founded in 1967 and On the Web Since 1994 Under Legal
Attack for Using the Name " Leonardo ". 

Court Suit Threatens the Existence of a Non-Profit Organization Dedicated
to Bringing Together Art and the New Technologies For the Past 30 Years


On November 3, 1999 a bailiff and eight policemen carried out a search
directed against the Leonardo Association, raiding a private residence. 
This highly unusual procedure was followed by the filing of a lawsuit
against Leonardo by the Transasia Corporation and two co-complainants. 

Transasia has just recently registered the names Leonardo, Leonardo
Finance, Leonardo Partners, Leonardo Invest and Leonardo Experts in
France. It is suing Leonardo for a million dollars in damages and interest
on the grounds of trademark infringement. 

Their basic argument is that a search engine request using the keyword
"Leonardo" brings up not only the Transasia's sites but also the Web sites
affiliated with the Leonardo arts organization. 

As part of this suit, Transasia has asked that Leonardo be forbidden to
use the word "Leonardo," not only on its Web sites, but in any of its
products and services, including its publications. This strikes at
Leonardo's right to exist. 

LEONARDO: for 30 years the world's premier champion of a closer
relationship between the arts and the sciences, providing information,
promoting exchanges and stimulating thinking on both sides. 

The Leonardo Association is a French non-profit organization. Together
with the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology
(ISAST), it works to forge an international community of artists,
scientists and students. 

John Cage, Franck Popper, R. Buckminster Fuller have participated in
Leonardo, an artistic and academic network founded in Paris during the
1960s by Frank Malina, a space science pioneer and kinetic artist. For 30
years now Leonardo has been dedicated to promoting artists who use science
and the new technologies in their work. Its activity, long centered on
print media, now also includes a Web site and online publishing. 

The broad juridical implications of the Transasia suit are of a matter of
serious concern for all those involved in the Net. The Leonardo
Association, conscious of what is at stake in this case, is preparing a
legal defense based on three main arguments: 

Net Democracy: Forbidding someone to use a particular keyword means
facilitating access to some sites and obstructing access to others. This
is inequitable and contrary to the spirit of democracy that characterizes
the Net. 

The principle of antecedence ("first come, first served"): Leonardo
magazine has been published and circulated internationally for three
decades. It has been available online as an MIT electronic publication
since 1994 (mitpress.mit.edu/Leonardo). 

Thus suit betrays a bias in its choice of target: Search engines looking
for the keyword "Leonardo" come up with many Web pages, some of them
dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci and others to Leonardo DiCaprio! 



© OLATS (Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences) 

The Leonardo Observatory for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (OLATS)  is
a research group whose work is presented on a mainly French-language Web
site. OLATS offers information, guidance and potential links between the
arts and science and technology. It encourages the production of
technologically-based artworks and helps bring scientists and artists
together. This site is affiliated with the Leonardo Association, which for
30 years now has played a major role in providing information, promoting
exchanges and stimulating thinking on both sides. 


Project Virtual Africa is a multimedia project whose mission is to build
bridges between artists and intellectuals in Africa and the rest of the

In January 2000, OLATS/Virtual Africa sponsored The River Festival, in
which a group of international artists, most of them working in new media,
gathered to travel down the Mouhoun River in Burkina Faso and meet with
their counterparts in that country. Together they have produced artwork in
the villages and hold workshops with local artists, school children and
street kids. In November-December 2000 and May-June 2001, all of these
artists will tour Europe. 


Technological art has a past, but does it have a memory ? Through rigorous
online documentation, the PIONEERS & PATHBREAKERS Project aims to
resituate the importance of artists such as Nicolas Schöffer, Nam June
Paik, Rauschenberg, Stockhausen, Takis, Tinguely, whose thoughts and work
were so influential for the evolution of technological art.


Leonardo's magazines and books are produced by Leonardo/IAST in San
Francisco and published by the highly-respected MIT Press in Cambridge,

> Leonardo's magazine: Journal of the International Society for the Arts,
Sciences and Technology

This English-language bimonthly magazine is the publication of reference
in the domain of art and the new media. It is available in all major
libraries and, since 1994, has got a web site from MIT Press
(mitpress.mit.edu/e-journals/Leonardo). The journal embraces all the
artistic disciplines-new media, music, performance art, conceptual art,
land art, artificial intelligence, etc. By emphasizing the writings of
artists themselves, it helps make sure that their voices are heard and
that they are full participants in the process of developing of new

> Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ)

Accompanied by an audio CD, LMJ is a forum open to composers, artists,
researchers, musicians, musical instrument makers and musicologists-all
those whose work involves coloring outside the lines and redefining the
borders between musical and artistic disciplines. Its purpose is to bring
whole new perspectives into view. 

> The Leonardo Book Series

Seven titles have been published to date:
The Leonardo Almanac: International Resources in Art, Sciences and 
The Visual Arts: Art and Mathematics
Designing Information Technology in the Postmodern Age: from Method to
Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments
Art and Innovation: The Xerox Parc Artist in Residence Program
Technoromanticism, Digital Narrative, Holism and the Romance of the Real
The Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media

> The Leonardo Electronic Almanac (mitpress.mit.educ/LEA)

This online English-language magazine available by subscription serves as
a forum for all those interested in the use of the new media in
contemporary art and the emerging links between art and science and
technology. Artists are asked to present their work in progress and all
readers are free to comment. 

For further information, please contact:
CorporArt Communication
20, rue du Cirque, 75008 Paris
Tél.  01 47 42 56 51/52/48 ; fax : 01 47 42 56 49
e-mail : beatrice@corporart.com

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