- Elon Musk has got embroiled in a weird row about a farting unicorn.
- Colorado-based artist Tom Edwards says Musk used a picture he created without permission in Tesla car operating systems.
- In now-deleted tweets, Musk said the image was not created by Edwards, and implied that the artist should be grateful for the exposure.
- Edwards told Business Insider that Musk has been “arrogant” about the dispute.
- He remains as a Musk fanboy, however.
The artist at the centre of a bizarre row with Elon Musk over the image of a farting unicorn has called the Tesla CEO “very arrogant” – but says he’s still a fanboy.
The unicorn originally featured on one of Colorado-based potter Tom Edwards’ mugs, which carried a positive message about electric vehicles. Musk tweeted a picture praising the mug in February 2017, and said it was “maybe my favourite mug ever.” These tweets have now been deleted.
It was brought to Edwards’ attention two months later by friends that images of his unicorn were popping up inside Tesla vehicles on the operating system. “They call it an Easter egg, I see it more as a hidden icon,” Edwards told Business Insider. The image was also used in a Christmas greeting sent out by Tesla.
“By the time they sent out the Christmas card, I just said ‘boy, this is wrong,’ because it’s a copywritten image. So I decided to make it my New Year’s resolution to pursue getting compensation, because artists are always seeing their work just taken, and it happens all the time,” Edwards said.
“It’s amazing to me that corporations like Disney are so caught up in suing people if they make a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and yet somebody like me is seen as an opportunist for simply saying this guy did not get permission to use my artwork.”
Elon Musk said in now-deleted tweets that his inclusion of the mug in Tesla’s branding was advantageous for Edwards. “If anything, this attention increased his mug sales,” he tweeted.
“That’s very arrogant”
Edwards was not convinced. “That’s a really absurd sort of illogic,” Edwards responded. “The fundamental issue here is that he used my copywritten material without my permission, it’s that simple.”
“The things that he’s tweeted, that I should be happy with the exposure, that’s very arrogant,” Edwards added.
Tesla declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
He also finds illogical Musk’s claim that the image was actually taken from someone else who had copied the image, “just because someone copies my artwork, doesn’t mean it’s not my artwork.”
“The fact I’ve gotten a bump of sales from all this media attention- well of course I have, that doesn’t change […] the copyright issue.”
Musk also claimed in now-deleted tweets that he offered to pay Edwards for his work on two occasions. “I haven’t received any contact from Elon Musk or Tesla motors and neither has my lawyer,” Edwards told Business Insider, “I really don’t know what he’s talking about.”
Edwards said that his fight isn’t about the money. “We’re not sitting here with dollar signs in our eyes, we’re really doing this because it’s what right.”
But he remains a fan of Musk and doesn’t want to see his farting unicorn removed from Tesla vehicles. “If he takes it off the car that would be a shame, because honestly, I like my image in the car, I like his cars I’m a fan of Tesla motors, I’m a fan of SpaceX. I’m still a fan of Elon Musk, I just want to change his mind,” he continued.
Edwards said the ideal outcome would be for Musk to get in touch with his lawyer and come to an agreement.
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