New Life Art
The art gallery, located at 3600 Lorna Ridge Drive in the Hoover Business Park was established in 1989 and expanded in 2013, displays a selection of Moore's original paintings depicting memorable moments in Sports history, particularly those of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers. The gallery is open to the public and also displays a wide range of framed prints and canvases, metallic art prints, beverage mugs and statuary of his artwork.
In 1991 New Life Art created it's Museum Edition program, with the Mr. Moore's release of Crimson Dynasty in which a portion of the profits from this specially limited edition of each Alabama release benefited the Paul Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama. In 2005 the program was revised to include future all future Alabama and Auburn releases. At that time the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, which had just lost state funding, became the beneficiary.
The University of Alabama Board of Trustees v New Life Art, Inc.
After a long relationship mutually beneficial relationship. in 2002, The University of Alabama told Moore he must have their permission if he wanted to continue illustrating the team colors in his paintings. Moore believed he had a right to keep painting these historic moments accurately and would not agree to subjugate his artistic freedom to the state university.
District Court of Northern Alabama
On March 17, 2005 The University of Alabama Board of Trustees sued Artist Daniel Moore and New Life Art, alleging that the use of the football uniforms and colors in Moore's paintings, prints, and other memorabilia breached a contractual obligation and infringed upon the University's trademark in violation of Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act. Moore and New Life Art countersued the following week alleging infringement of the artist's First Amendment right of expression.
The suit alleged that Moore was prohibited from using the University's football uniforms or "licensed indicia" in any of his work. The University alleged that the cumulative meaning of the language in the parties' previous licensing agreements prohibited Moore from using colors, designs, names, and other referencing symbols in any works he produced without its express consent. It part of it's argument, the University attempted to claim it's "ownership" of the crimson and white color scheme in relation to college athletics, even though those colors were used by multiple college teams, including those of Harvard University, which began play over 20 years earlier than Alabama.
Litigation in what became a landmark suit drug on for over seven years. Much of this time was spent in repeated dispute resolution as the case was repeatedly re-assigned to seven different Federal judges of the Northern District of Alabama. Finally, a retired District Judge Emeritus, Robert Propst was brought in to bring the case to resolution.
On November 2, 2009 The District Court of Northern Alabama granted a partial summary judgement in favor of Moore and New Life Art, concluding that The University of Alabama's colors had acquired some secondary meaning, but were not strong trademarks, and thus Moore's depictions of the Crimson Tide uniforms in paintings and prints received First Amendment protection. Further the court ruled that the use of Moore's images on "mundane" items, such as mugs and calendars, was not protected and issued a partial summary judgement in the University's favor regarding these items. Both parties then appealed the rulings to the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals
After months of deliberation, the Appeals Court issued it's rulings on June 11, 2012. On the matter of Breach of Contract the court ruled that because of ambiguous language and the lack of a specific mention of uniforms as an indicia, that Moore was not in breach of any previous agreements. Further the court state that had the contracts read as the University claimed, those contracts would have been void on public policy grounds as they would have created a period of indentured servitude to the University that would never end. The Court also pointed out that for many years the University's proudly displayed, profited from and enthusiastically participated in projects by Moore/New Life Art. In regards to the Trademark violation claim, the Court concluded: “the First Amendment interest in artistic expression so clearly outweighs whatever consumer confusion that might exist on these facts that we must necessarily conclude that there has been no violation of the Lanham Act.” It affirmed the District Court’s conclusion that Moore may continue to sell his paintings and prints without the University’s permission and reversed the trial court’s injunction on calendars.
Final Ruling by District Court
The portion of the case, regarding "mundane items was remanded to the Circuit Court for determination if the University had acquiesced to the sale of these items due to the University's long time sale of such items through it's various stores and outlets. On September 27, 2013 the District Court determined such acquiescence and dismissed all remaining matters before the court, thus ending litigation.
This ruling is considered today as landmark ruling that strengthened the First Amendment's Freedom of Expression and set precedent regarding the conflict Trademark protection provided by the Lanham act.
- All Things Considered (October 25, 2005) "Artist, 'Bama Collide over Trademark Issues", NPR
- Rovell, Darren (November 18, 2005) "Alabama artist blackballed by alma mater", ESPN
- New Life Art Press Release (April 19, 2006) "TRUSTEES' LAWSUIT + UA'S ACTIONS =
CONFUSING MESSAGES TO THE ALABAMA FAMILY"
- Liptak, Adam (November 12, 2006) "Sports Artist Sued for Mix of Crimson and Tide" New York Times
- Grady, John (March 2010) "New Life Art decision breathes new life into artists' First Amendment rights", Sports Marketing Quarterly"
- Barra, Alan (March 21, 2012) "Who Owns Crimson and White?", Wall Street Journal
- Goldman, Eric (June 14, 2012) "University of Alabama Can’t Stop Paintings of Famous Crimson Tide Football Moments–University of Alabama v. New Life Art, Technology & Marketing Law Blog
- Faulk, Kent (September 30, 2013) "Judge dismisses trademark lawsuit filed by University of Alabama against artist Daniel A. Moore" The Birmingham News
- Sanders, Derik T. (2013) "Out of Bounds: Defining the Boundaries of
Trademark and Artistic Expression in University of Alabama v. New Life Art" Southern Methodist University