The alterations made to the famous Zubi Zuri Bridge by order of the City Council of Bilbao, which resulted in a completely different architectural style, generated a conflict with the architect´s moral right to the integrity of his work.
Before rendering a judgement, the Judge analyzed whether the Bridge in conflict, which was an already built architectural work, fell under the scope of the Intellectual Property Act of 1996. Despite the fact that this Act defines Intellectual Property as designs, drawings, plans… the judge considered that it was completely illogical to exclude this building from this open definition, especially if we consider that we are talking about a work of art that is characterized by its originality.
Once established that the Bridge fell within the definition of Intellectual Property, the issue of the conflict of interests was addressed.
Therefore, notwithstanding the evident infringement of the architect´s moral right which constitutes his private interest or the private interest of the City Council of Bilbao as owner of the bridge, we also must take into account the public interest that results from the use of the bridge, whose purpose is to connect both banks of a river. From this point of view, considering that the bridge served public interests and that the alterations to the bridge were made for practical purposes, as opposed to merely aesthetical purposes, the case was solved in favour of the public interest, thus ordering the author to accept this limitation on his right.