Could building in US movie be copy of Slovenian architect’s work?

Ljubljana – A building appearing in a new Marvel series movie is incredibly similar to a memorial complex award-winning Slovenian architect Marko Mušič designed in Montenegro in the 1970s, the newspaper Delo reports on Saturday. The architect has mixed feelings about what could be a potential copyright infringement.

Delo says the futuristic headquarters in the new Jessice Gao series which is coming to the Disney+ streaming platfom in August could have been inspired by Mušič’s WWII memorial complex which was opened in Kolašin in 1975.

This was brought to his attention by a fellow architect from Serbia. “Belgrade architects pay a lot of attention to the protection of Modernist architecture and are thus greatly upset about this,” Mušič told Delo.

Mušič, 1941, is one of the most distinguished Slovenian architects whose works have left a notable mark in Slovenia and throughout the former Yugoslavia.

Last year, he received the Prešeren Prize for life-time achievements, Slovenia’s top accolade for artists in various fields.

On the one hand, Mušič is “happy and proud” to have created architecture so “original, unique, distinctive and avant-garde to have been published and exhibited in the world so many times that now, fifty years later, it has been used by American filmmakers”.

On the other hand, he is frustrated that “big countries callously disregard the ethical, moral and cultural values of smaller and small nations”. He is saddened and appalued that nobody had told him his building would be used in a film, “let alone asked for permission”.

Commenting on the case from the legal aspect for Delo, lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar said it should be first established whether the building that appears in the film is actually a copy of the copyrighted memorial complex and to what extent.

She sees it as a complicated international legal matter as it involves a Slovenian citizen, his work in Montenegro, and a US company that has possibly violated copyright.

Should it be established that it is a copy, Jadek & Pensa law firm said the architect could demand that his work is not used in the film or that he gets a compensation.

Mušič now first intends to write to Montenegro’s culture minister, while he has already sent a letter to the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), whose member he is.

The SAZU will discuss the matter in the autumn and likely issue a public statement, said Jožef Muhovič from the SAZU, who sees the case as a starting point to properly address copyright protection in Slovenia, which Delo says has many flaws.