Ai Weiwei recently filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen and its Danish counterpart Skandinavisk after he said his artwork appeared in an advert for the

Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad

Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad

Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad

Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad

Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad
Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad
  • 2019-05-24 14:45:04 23 days ago
  • views: 10,480
  • By: hypebeast.com
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Ai Weiwei recently filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen and its Danish counterpart Skandinavisk after he said his artwork appeared in an advert for the German automaker without permission. The legal battle surrounds his Soleil Levant (2017), a sprawling installation that sees the Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s façade packed with approximately 3,500 life jackets that were all salvaged from refugees in the island of Lesbos in Greece. The artwork was on display at the Copenhagen gallery from June to October 2017. It was then featured as the backdrop for a Volkswagen Polo campaign in October that same year.

Ai Weiwei encountered the ad back in March 2017 and claimed that his work was used without permission, and he was not credited as the artist. "I am suing Volkswagen in Denmark for violating my intellectual property and moral rights," said the artist in an Instagram post. "The infringing material was circulated to over 200,000 people, giving the false impression that I had authorized Volkswagen to use my artwork in its ad for the new Polo."

On Tuesday, Weiwei posted a selfie on Instagram flipping off the Volkswagen logo. "On the way to Copenhagen to attend the court hearing for our case against Volkswagen," read the caption.

The following Wednesday, the hearing took place at Glostrup District Court in Copenhagen. A representative for Volkswagen Denmark told CNN that the company would not comment on ongoing case. "However, the spokesman said the company had admitted its mistake and had tried to reach a resolution with the artist for the past year," reports CNN.

The artist claimed that he had unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter with Volkswagen. "Volkswagen and other multinational corporations have tremendous bargaining power in intellectual property protection as well as environmental and human rights," he wrote. "They are not above the law."

Ai Weiwei is not the first artist to sue an automaker over the unauthorized use of images. Last April, artists Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James “Dabls” Lewis, and Jeff Soto sued Mercedes-Benz for using their Detroit murals in ads surrounding its G 500 vehicle.

 

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I am suing Volkswagen in Denmark for violating my intellectual property and moral rights. My artwork “Soleil Levant” (2017), which I created for World Refugee Day, was installed at Copenhagen's Kunsthal Charlottenborg from June 20 to October 1, 2017. The work comprises 3,500 lifejackets used by refugees who fled to Lesvos, Greece, escaping persecution and conflict. In October 2017 Volkswagen Denmark used an unauthorized photo of “Soleil Levant” in an ad for its VW Polo campaign. I was not credited as the artist, and my artwork image was uncredited and cropped without permission. The infringing material was circulated to over 200,000 people, giving the false impression that I had authorized Volkswagen to use my artwork in its ad for the new Polo. I was astonished by Volkswagen’s brazen violations of my intellectual property and moral rights. Since November 2017 I have been trying to resolve the matter with Volkswagen. In more than one year of fruitless negotiation, they only engaged in arrogant gestures to trivialize their guilt and dismiss the matter. Intellectual property protection lies at the heart of a society that values human invention and makes our useful accumulation of knowledge possible. Respect of intellectual property law is one cornerstone of a functioning international legal system. As one of the largest European companies, Volkswagen should understand these same laws. Volkswagen and other multinational corporations have tremendous bargaining power in intellectual property protection as well as environmental and human rights. They are not above the law. Human rights, like intellectual property, is a popular concept but one that is difficult to enforce. We should remember that Germany took in one million refugees in 2015, a powerful humanitarian act in a divided world. As one of Germany’s internationally most visible companies, Volkswagen’s disregard for fair play and humanitarian issues is truly disturbing.

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Ai Weiwei Sues Volkswagen for Using Refugee Lifejacket Artwork in Ad

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