The heirs of Edvard Eriksen, the Danish artist who created the world famous mermaid, located in Copenhagen since 1913, have demanded the removal of a statue of a mermaid in Asaa harbour, also in Denmark.

The artist - Palle Mørk - disputes that there is any copying and has said that the materials are different, and there are other fundamental differences such as in the face and the expression. It is notable that the Asaa statue has been in place for 4 years, seemingly without complaint. The local mayor is reported to have said “A cow is a cow, and a mermaid is a mermaid”.

From a copyright perspective the significance of the differences in the overall effect will be key. Also relevant is the degree of artistic licence that the creator has – to the extent there are similarities, are these to the Eriksen statue, or to popular representations of mermaids?

So to paraphrase the artist – “what does a mermaid look like, and how would it sit on a rock”?