Leonardo under attack

From: Eric Watt Forste (arkuat@idiom.com)
Date: Wed Feb 09 2000 - 15:14:11 MST

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Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 09:56:04 -0800 (PST)
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Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 16:20:04 +0100
From: Annick Bureaud <bureaud@altern.org>
Subject: Syndicate: Proces contre Leonardo / Leonardo under attack

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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

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

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



(c) 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.

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

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
Schoffer, 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, Massachusetts.

> 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 technologies.

> 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 Technology
The Visual Arts: Art and Mathematics
Designing Information Technology in the Postmodern Age: from Method to Metaphor
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
Tel. 01 47 42 56 51/52/48 ; fax : 01 47 42 56 49
e-mail : beatrice@corporart.com

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