Monday, December 13, 2010
A Reply From the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Today this appeared in my university in-box. After the furor over the closing of the Virtual Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in the last 10 days, I was pleased to see the Foundation reply. My protest over the closing in my e-mail was civil, and I appreciate the civil and detailed reply given here. If you want to editorialize, have a go in the comments.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (the Foundation) has received numerous inquiries regarding its decision to terminate the license relationship with Virtual Museums, Inc., the builder of the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum in Second Life. Misinformation directed towards the Foundation regarding the situation appears in press releases, blogs, and throughout the Second Life community and is perpetuating an incorrect and misleading perception of the Foundation’s position with respect to an educational presence in Second Life.
The Foundation and the owners’ of various Frank Lloyd Wright building sites own copyrights that give the Foundation and others the exclusive rights to copy and display Wright’s buildings and designs. The Foundation entered into a licensing agreement with Virtual Museums, Inc. (VMI) for installation of a virtual museum in Second Life that allowed VMI to reproduce the architectural designs of the homes and buildings created by Frank Lloyd Wright and protected by copyright and trademark law. It was the Foundation’s hope and intention that a virtual museum would be a positive and educational undertaking to allow architects, scholars, students, and a younger generation to be able to learn about the many aspects of Wright’s architecture.
The Foundation terminated the license agreement with VMI for numerous reasons, including the fact that several of the buildings as constructed in Second Life and displayed by VMI did not accurately reflect the buildings as actually designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Foundation further offered a new and revised license agreement to VMI’s new board and management but it was declined. The Foundation was disappointed that they could not obtain agreement with VMI as to the license agreement terms, but the Foundation and the real world Frank Lloyd Wright building site owners have a duty to protect the intellectual property and works of Wright.
The Foundation will continue to look for creative ways to work with academics, authors, scholars, reputable organizations and online and virtual communities to educate the public about the work and teachings of Frank Lloyd Wright.