Sharks Battle For Their Image

The dancing sharks that stole some of the spotlight during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show have taken a bite out of an artist’s bid to sell small figurines of them.

Photo: AP Photo / Michael Conroy
"Super Bowl XLIX," Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

After the stumbling and uncoordinated sharks [sic: it was the Left Shark’s performance that caught attention, not the Right one]┬ábecame an overnight Internet sensation, Fernando Sosa, 31, joined in on the Web frenzy and worked up a design of a 3-inch “Left Shark” made with a 3D printer.

His handiwork hit the marketplace on Tuesday and by Wednesday afternoon, the Orlando-based artist had sold 10-15 sharks at $24.99 each.

Shapeways officials notified Sosa later Wednesday of a cease-and-desist letter from Perry’s Los Angeles-based attorneys who demanded the shark’s removal.

“They said they were pulling the design because they didn’t want to deal with lawyers,” Sosa said.

He said the company cancelled the orders and refunded customers.

The letter from attorney Steve Plinio said Katy Perry is the “owner of the intellectual property depicted or embodied in connection with the shark images and costumes” portrayed during the halftime show. The letter said the failure to comply with the demands outlined in the letter “will be viewed by the courts as willful infringement.”

Sosa said he didn’t think a halftime show prop would be copyrighted. He says his product didn’t mention Katy Perry or claim that it was associated with her.

He typically does politically-oriented pieces, including a design depicting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie holding a stop sign and wearing construction gear during the investigation into traffic jams caused by the closure of lanes of the George Washington Bridge in 2013. He’s also done 3D figurines of world leaders.

He said he has never heard from lawyers.

“It’s one of the more mainstream designs I’ve done and it came down in about 24 hours,” he said.

Sosa said he plans to talk to a couple of lawyers on Friday and hopes he can begin selling the figurines again.

Perry’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages left Friday morning.