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Brian May joins in row over removal of Norwich's Freddie Mercury

Brian May joins in row over removal of Norwich's Freddie Mercury

Brian May has become involved in the row surrounding a gorilla painted to look like Freddie Mercury.

The guitarist was informed of the incident, which saw a sculpture of a gorilla painted to look like Mercury removed from Norwich city centre for breaching copyright laws, via Twitter and informed his followers that he would "look into" what was going on. Meanwhile, ITV News report that May has labelled the move, "outrageous and petty".

A spokeswoman for Brandbank, the gorilla's sponsor, told the BBC: "We, like everyone else, have been taken aback by the passionate responses to the request by the Freddie Mercury estate that Radio Go Go [the gorilla] be removed due to a suggestion of possible breach of copyright...We have spoken to one of the executives of the estate and are endeavouring to see if we can resolve this so that there's a positive outcome for all the charities involved. Our priority is that the event is a success for the charities involved, while respecting the wishes of copyright owners and fans of Freddie Mercury."

The sculpture, which was decorated with Mercury's trademark moustache and yellow leather jacket, was on display on outside The Forum in Norwich until a complaint by the Mercury Phoenix Trust was made to organisers Wild In Art. The organisers of the local conservation art trail were contacted by the Aids charity, which was set up following Mercury's death in 1991, as they believed the similarity was so close it broke copyright law.

The gorilla is one of 53 life-size gorillas and 67 baby gorillas decorated by local artists and schoolchildren before going on display on the streets on Norwich. All money made through the venture will be going to charity. A request for comment from the Mercury Phoenix Trust has not been returned.

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