The entrepreneur hinted that the author should be grateful to him.
In February 2017, the head of Tesla Elon Musk published on Twitter a photograph of a mug showing the unicorn gas emitting gas, calling it “perhaps my favorite mug for all time”. Due to the approval of the entrepreneur , sales of mugs with a design from 61-year-old artist Tom Edwards from Colorado have dramatically increased .
In March, Musk published a photo of the unicorn image to promote the drawing function on a tablet in a Tesla car. For comparison – Edwards first unveiled a picture in 2010. The artist accused the entrepreneur of using the image without permission for commercial purposes. Now the original tweet Musk removed.
Edwards explained to The Guardian that he was ready to ignore the situation until the picture with the unicorn began to appear regularly at Tesla, including in the operating system and on Christmas cards.
Now this image is part of their [Tesla] branding. I like the very fact that it is in cars, but I just want them to act correctly and to pay me in proportion. Ilon Musk can become a hero in terms of supporting copyright.
Conflict may seem insignificant, but it is not so
As noted by The Guardian, the scandal around the picture with a unicorn can fade in the face of much larger scandals around electric vehicles: from complaints about safety in the workplace and loud layoffs to car accidents and pressure in the production of new models. However, the conflict of Musk and Edwards shows that the problem of copyright infringement is more than relevant in this area. Little-known or independent artists are almost forced to participate in “costly legal battles” with large opponents, the publication noted.
Musk argued in Twitter, but later deleted all his answers
In June 2018, Edwards told the story of a small edition of Westworld. The daughter of the artist, singer Lisa Prank, referred to the publication and turned to the Musk.
— Lisa Prank (@lisaprank) 26 June 2018
Musk entered into an open dispute with Prank, in fact, refusing to pay compensation or indicate the artist among the authors of branding. The head of Tesla explained that he personally does not bear responsibility for what happened, and the designer of the company chose the picture – ostensibly accidentally, for the sake of joking and without telling the management.
The entrepreneur suggested that Prank change the image of the unicorn to something else, “if her father wants to.” However, the girl refused, stressing that Tesla had used Edwards’ creative property for more than a year, and she often hears such stories about copyright infringement from artists.
Eventually, Musk pointed out that “it would be sullying” to go to court against Tesla, and Edwards should be grateful to him for the increased attention. According to Musk, this is a form of free advertising: “How much money does your dad want for this terrible crime?”
“In any case, this increased the sale of mugs, and Tesla did not receive financial benefits from the picture,” Musk said. The representative of the artist, on the contrary, assured that the company received a “valuable marketing benefit” from the image, starting with the first tweet.
Edwards with the help of lawyers appealed to Tesla, but stressed that he did it not for “extortion”, but for “discussing and finding a mutual solution.” The artist suggested that Musk not abandon the unicorn, but conclude a pre-trial agreement and continue to use it. According to the artist, he did not receive a response from the company.
June 28, after the appearance of the first materials on the conflict, Musk removed all the answers of Lisa Prank.
The author of books about Harry Potter Joan Rowling connected to the subject of the dispute, joking about the word “potter” (potter).
The spinoff you never knew you wanted. pic.twitter.com/NaE0n0c6C2
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 27 June 2018