The Little Mermaid statue, based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, is probably Copenhagen's best-known landmark, admired by millions and occasionally stolen or vandalized. And now it's headed to court in a battle with a rival statue.
The rival, granite to Copenhagen's bronze, is in the harbor of Asaa, a small port in northern Jutland, 400 km and 5 hours drive away (although the distance may be shorter if you're a mermaid swimmer). The heirs of Edvard Eriksen, who made the 1913 Copenhagen statue, have sued, claiming copyright infringement and demanding removal of the statue.
The mayor Asaa has no sympathy for their claim. “I must admit that I could not help but laugh a little when I received the inquiry. A cow is a cow, and a mermaid is a mermaid. One cannot patent an entire species of animal, and by the way, I do not think the two mermaids are similar at all. Ours is more plump and has a completely different face.”
Palle Mork, who created the Asaa statue agrees. “I just didn’t do it, not by any means. It doesn’t look the same at all. My mermaid is made of granite and not bronze, and it is more than twice as big as the one in Copenhagen. Mine is also plumper, and the facial expression and hair are different.” When a broadcast reporter pointed out a similarity in the pose, he responded “Well, how the hell should a mermaid sit on a rock? She doesn’t have legs, but fins. You cannot have a patent on mermaids.”