The Statue of Liberty is everywhere in New York. Portland's own iconic statue, not so much.
That's because the man who made Portlandia (the statue) copyrighted the image of the work, partly paid for with your tax dollars. That shrewd move now gets sculptor Raymond Kaskey a little beer money, thanks to Laurelwood Brewing.
Last year, the company released a Portlandia Pils bearing the image of the statue without asking permission because the brewery's graphics people were under the assumption that a statue bought with public money, sitting on public land, was something the public had the right to use. Later informed that Kaskey aggressively protects his copyright—which won't expire for 70 years after the septuagenarian Pittsburgh native dies—Laurelwood owner Mike DeKalb decided to contact him about securing the rights before this year's labels were printed.
That negotiation was successful, though both parties declined to disclose the fee paid.
"It wasn't too much money," DeKalb says. "We're a small brewery and we couldn't afford much, to be honest."
Kaskey is based in Maryland. His other works include a statue of Charlotte, wife of King George, the monarch who ruled the U.S. until the Revolutionary War; the bronze pieces of the Washington, D.C., World War II memorial praised as "a bland insult to the memory of all who served"; and an owl for a Chicago library (because owls are always a hoot).
But Laurelwood's beer now has Kaskey's "blessing" for one very good reason.
"To make some money—that's the single best reason," Kaskey said. "It's called capitalism."
Also of note: This year's just-released Portland Beer Week site and flier also uses an image reminiscent of Kaskey's statue. A spokesman for the event declined to comment.