Art Or Copyright Infringement?

Leialoha Colucci
Leialoha Colucci
Kim Taylor Reece
Kim Taylor Reece

(KHNL) - In the window of the Island Treasures art gallery sits a stained glass piece of a hula dancer posing.

The artist behind it is Leialoha Colucci.

Her inspiration came from years of doing hula.

"This is one of my favorite motions, the ike motion," said Colucci.

But another artist says it's the spitting image of a photo he shot in the late 1980's.

According to photographer, Kim Taylor Reece, "I'm not saying I own the hula move or the hula at all. I'm saying this particular image is one that I created and one that I actually drew out, before I had a model get out on the beach and I photographed it."

Reece filed an injunction against the art gallery to stop the sale of the piece.

He says he owns the rights to this image.

He said, "She's not copying the hula, she's copying the image."

Reece's move has outraged Hawaiian groups and kumu hula like Vicky Holt Takamine.

"He wants exclusive rights to our hula and to our hula motions. He's taken pictures and photographs of hula dancers for the last 20 years, we have never infringed on his right to go and sell those photographs," said Takamine.

Art may be subjective.

But this is one case that will need to be decided in court.

Reece explained, "if not protected, there's no incentive for a artist or a musician to produce this stuff and there's no creativity."

Colucci said of the injunction, "It's so wrong on so many levels as an artist, as an Hawaiian."