When people walk into a coffee shop in New York City and order a latte, most can experience latte art in shapes of a leaf or a heart. Such shapes are commonplace in latte art, and there are many tutorial videos instructing how to make them. Kangbin Lee, a barista from South Korea, is known for his fancy coffee arts, which include depictions of Disney characters, Ghibli Studio’s characters, Snoopy, Van Gogh’s paintings, and his own creative artwork. Lee calls his coffee art a Cremart. The process of making Cremart is similar to latte art—coffee is topped with foamed-up cream. However, while latte art is made by just the pouring of steamed milk onto a shot of espresso, Cremart is made by using metal rods and food coloring on top of the cream that has been poured on top of cold brew coffee. The questions explored here are whether such Cremart can be copyrighted, and whether the Cremart depicting copyrighted artworks can violate copyright laws.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on April 22, 2019. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Cho, Skye, "“Cremart” and Copyright Implications" (2019). AELJ Blog. 200.