Artist depicts 126 ACME Corp. products on giant poster
Wired reports that Chicago artist Rob Loukotka has created an advertising poster for fictional ACME Corp. that shows 126 of its products that Wile E. Coyote has ordered in his attempts to catch the Road Runner, including the jet-propelled tennis shoes, rocket-powered pogo stick, and tornado seeds.
The giant poster (24” x 36”, or 2’ x 3’) is not quite ready to order. Loukotka has a Kickstarter project to raise $3,000 to print it. Considering that the project is still going and that he has $79,110 pledged so far, this looks assured. Loukotka is asking for $30 pledges; each pledger will receive the poster. Non-pledgers can buy it for $30 after it is printed; $40 outside the U.S
Loukotka has other posters, but this is the only one with an anthropomorphic tie-in.
Update (21 Dec): The Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Bros. trademarked the ACME logo, too, though Loukotka was careful not to mention WB or Wile E. Coyote on the poster. [Ed.: The USPTO cancelled the trademark in 2010 as they failed to file a 10-year renewal.]
Loukotka is arguing that his poster is Fair Use: it is a one-time-only, limited-edition item that is original art, does not show any WB character, cannot be mistaken for a WB product, and does not divert money from WB. Loukotka's argument shows precedent in the artwork displayed legally - and sold -- in such exhibits as "Gag Me With a Toon 4" at the WWA Gallery in Culver City, California this past March-April. But those were one-of-a-kind paintings, not limited-edition prints. Does that make a legal difference? Will this be decided short of going to court? Stay tooned.
A prior version of this piece incorrectly claimed that the Cartoon Brew had reported Warner Bros. had charged Loukotka with trademark infringement.