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Evergreen artist wants Elon Musk to puff up payment for using farting unicorn design

Posted by On June 30, 2018

Evergreen artist wants Elon Musk to puff up payment for using farting unicorn design

When an Evergreen potter drew up a farting unicorn, he had no idea that he’d end up in a viral copyright squabble with the co-owner of Tesla.

In 2010, artist Tom Edwards began selling a coffee mug from his pottery business Wallyware that pictured a unicorn farting into the exhaust of a car with the message “Electric cars are good for the environment because electricity comes from magic.”

Fast forward to the present, Edwards has hired lawyers to seek compensation from billionaire Elon Musk and Tesla for using his farting unicorn design.

“You can’t just steal someone’s art, tweet about it and then say ‘We’re even ’cause I sold some of your work for you,’” he said in an interview with The Denver Post.

In February 2017, Edwards saw a flattering spike in sales for the mug after Musk tweeted a now-deleted photo of the flatulatin g unicorn, writing it was maybe his “favorite mug ever.”

The real drama started in March 2017 when Musk tweeted yet another now-deleted photo that showed the updated Tesla operating system. The “sketch pad” included a hidden design identical to Edwards’ farting unicorn found by pressing the “T” three times.

“My image is in all the Tesla cars,” Edwards said. “When that happened, I got another bump in sales which was nice, but I also realized that this was copyright infringement. My friend told me it wasn’t worth it because it’s hard to take on a big corporation, so I let it go.”

But Tesla used the design again when they sent out a digital Christmas card to all Tesla owners featuring Edwards’ gassy unicorn wishing them a Merry Christmas in December 2017. Edwards then made it his New Year’s resolution to take a stand for his work.

He sought legal advice and hired Timothy Atkinson of Denver’s Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor and Pasco e law firm. Atkinson sent a letter to Tesla explaining his client’s wishes for compensation through amicable means. Until yesterday, amid the social media attention and media storm, Tesla ignored the letter.

“I’m not too concerned with the number on the check; that’s my lawyer’s job,” Edwards said. “To me, it’s more about the principle of the matter. I think we need to educate corporations better about being more reasonable and to contact the artist and pay them for their work.”

While waiting for his lawyer and Tesla’s lawyers to work out a settlement, Edwards created a whole line of farting unicorn designs on Wallyware, including a mug with the slogan “Tesla stole my unicorn” and a bowl saying “Don’t be a fart. Don’t steal art.”

Wallyware has seen a jump in sales over the last 48 hours. On an average “good day” during the holiday season the site will receive maybe 12 online orders, but currently they’ve received 90 on line orders in the last two days.

“This one is my bump in sales,” he said. “I caused it, not Elon Musk’s Twitter account.”

Meanwhile, the copyright battle has gone viral on Twitter after Edwards’ daughter Robin Edwards, known as Lisa Prank, called out the electric car titan for using the design. In a series of tweets that are now deleted, Musk said it would be “lame” for Edwards to sue, but that he has instructed Tesla to use a different design going forward.

People around the world have offered their two cents on the issue, including J.K. Rowling who called the drama “the spinoff you never knew you wanted.” Edwards credits social media and press attention from various publications for finally prompting Tesla’s lawyers to reach out.

“We made our point and it’s a good point,” he said. “Now, I just want them to settle so my life can go back to normal. I want to get back to the studio and make pots.”

Source: Google News US Business | Netizen 24 United States

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