Nanosized Sculpture

In 2001, a group of researchers at Osaka University sculpted a bull out of resin using a two-photon micropolymerization technique—essentially using a pair of laser beams to act as tiny chisels to carve the image. Much like Michelangelo setting free the angel from the marble, the Osaka scientists released the tiny bull from the resin. This sculpture stands about 7 ]m tall and has a length of about 8 ]m. While some might quibble that it is thus a bit too large to qualify as a nanotech sculpture, it does serve as an example of a purely artistic structure that people are inclined to make at a very small scale. But even at this scale, it is still too small to be imaged with visible light, and the image of the bull provided in Figure I.18 was also obtained with an electron-microscope scan.

This is relevant in considering the applicability of copyright law to nan-otechnology because the Osaka Bull is an example of a structure that has no utilitarian aspect at all. In addition to meeting the requirements of fixation, originality, and creativity, a work qualifies for copyright protection only when it falls within one of several defined categories.33 Of the various defined categories, "sculptural works" are those that have the clearest relevance to nanotechnol-ogy. An object qualifies as a "sculptural work" only if it has a design of artistic craftsmanship that can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects. Because the Osaka Bull is not at all utilitarian, it is easy to state without reservation that it qualifies for copyright protection. Anyone who produces a copy of the Osaka Bull without permission is liable for copyright infringement.

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