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 heâd 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 âElectric cars are good for the environment because electricity comes from magic.â
Fast forward to the present, Edwards has hired lawyers to seek compensation from billionaire Elon Musk and Tesla for using his farting unicorn design.
âYou canât just steal someoneâs art, tweet about it and then say âWeâre even âcause I sold some of your work for you,ââ 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 âfavorite mug ever.â
The real drama started in March 2017 when Musk tweeted yet another now-deleted photo that showed the updated Tesla operating system. The âsketch padâ included a hidden design identical to Edwardsâ farting unicorn found by pressing the âTâ three times.
âMy image is in all the Tesla cars,â Edwards said. âWhen 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 wasnât worth it because itâs hard to take on a big corporation, so I let it go.â
But Tesla used the design again when they sent out a digital Christmas card to all Tesla owners featuring Edwardsâ gassy unicorn wishing them a Merry Christmas in December 2017. Edwards then made it his New Yearâs resolution to take a stand for his work.
He sought legal advice and hired Timothy Atkinson of Denverâs Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor and Pasco e law firm. Atkinson sent a letter to Tesla explaining his clientâs wishes for compensation through amicable means. Until yesterday, amid the social media attention and media storm, Tesla ignored the letter.
âIâm not too concerned with the number on the check; thatâs my lawyerâs job,â Edwards said. âTo me, itâs 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.â
While waiting for his lawyer and Teslaâs lawyers to work out a settlement, Edwards created a whole line of farting unicorn designs on Wallyware, including a mug with the slogan âTesla stole my unicornâ and a bowl saying âDonât be a fart. Donât steal art.â
Wallyware has seen a jump in sales over the last 48 hours. On an average âgood dayâ during the holiday season the site will receive maybe 12 online orders, but currently theyâve received 90 on line orders in the last two days.
âThis one is my bump in sales,â he said. âI caused it, not Elon Muskâs Twitter account.â
Meanwhile, the copyright battle has gone viral on Twitter after Edwardsâ 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 âlameâ 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 âthe spinoff you never knew you wanted.â Edwards credits social media and press attention from various publications for finally prompting Teslaâs lawyers to reach out.
âWe made our point and itâs a good point,â he said. âNow, 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.âSource: Google News US Business | Netizen 24 United States