Artist and friend Daniel Moore was back in the news last week announcing that he had released a detailed pencil sketch of the painting that he plans to do commemorating the University of Alabama’s 2017 national collegiate football championship.
For nearly 40 years now, Moore’s work has been highly popular with Alabama fans and football fans in general.
His popularity continues. All of the editions of this painting have been sold out, even before the painting itself has been completed.
Moore discovered a gold mine for his artwork in 1979 when he produced “The Goal Line Stand,” a photo-realistic oil painting of the moments when Alabama prevented Penn State from scoring in the Sugar Bowl. Penn State had a first and goal at the one-yard line, and could not score in four tries. Alabama went on to win the game 7-0 and the national championship that year. It was an iconic moment in the history of Crimson Tide football, and Moore captured it perfectly.
Moore had found the formula to combine his love of football, the University of Alabama, and painting and create a handsome living for himself.
On many occasions over the next 20 years, Moore showed his gratitude to the University by donating paintings to its facilities, most notably to the Bear Bryant Museum, a popular stopping point for tourists coming to Tuscaloosa.
Unfortunately, the University did not reciprocate.
Sometime around the year 2000 — after 20 years of cooperation — the University of Alabama began demanding license fees from Moore for his work that included the University and its football team. In doing so, the masters of the University lost sight of the University’s basic mission — to support a full and free exchange of information and ideas and to encourage creativity — and tried its best to become a corporate entity. It was a state institution, not a corporation, and the folks in charge should have known better.
Moore resisted the demands of the University, and that took more than a little courage.
The University denied him the access that it had once freely granted to him. They revoked or refused to issue sideline passes so he could have an on-field view of the games.
The battle, of course, went to court, and a decade of legal action ensued. Fortunately, Moore had the resources to fight the University, arguing in Federal court that he had a First Amendment right to draw and paint what he pleased and then to sell what he produced without having to pay the state — the University — for the right. The Federal judges who heard the case never really understood the arguments and issued a couple of muddled opinions in the rulings. But Moore eventually won.
The victory cost him about $300,000 in legal fees.
But, it was an important First Amendment victory, and all Americans owe Daniel Moore a debt of gratitude.
Consequently, it’s good to see that Daniel Moore is still doing what he does best — and making money at it.Read an additional post about Daniel Moore’s legal battles here on JPROF
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