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'Substantially Similar' Towers? Maybe, Maybe Not

Some color on yesterday's ruling that Freedom Tower architect David Childs will have to go to trial to rebuff a claim that he stole his design from a little kid (okay, a late-30s, now 40, Yale architecture student):

· The plaintiff, Thomas Shine, said Childs lifted ideas from two of his buildings, Olympics '99 (picture above left next to a slice of Childs' initial Freedom Tower design) and Shine '99. Only his claim on the former was deemed worthy for trial.
· On the one hand, Judge Michael B. Mukasey wrote, people "might find that the Freedom Tower's twisting shape and undulating diamond-shaped facade make it substantially similar to Olympic Tower, and therefore an improper appropriation."

· On the other hand, Mukasey says, it is "possible, even likely, that some ordinary observers might not find the two towers to be substantially similar."Hey, it's a toss up! Let's let fellow architect Richard Meier, who can't stop copying himself, decide: "It is ironic, to say the least," Meier wrote, "that the plaintiff should claim rights over a mode of construction - the perimeter structural diagrid - that was effectively invented and developed by S.O.M." Okay, maybe not. Jury!?
· Suit Claiming Similarities in Tower Design Can Proceed [NYT]
· Childs Can't Shake the Shine [Curbed]