Tue, Jul 09, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung promos rile calligrapher

A QUESTION OF CHARACTER(S):A calligrapher says the design for ‘Taiwan’ on a poster and stickers for a festival is very similar to characters that he designed

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A poster promoting the International Kaohsiung Festival is pictured in Kaohsiung on Sunday. The allegedly plagiarized calligraphy for “Taiwan” is within the national flag on the top left of the poster.

Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Taipei Times

The Kaohsiung City Government is in hot water again after a calligrapher said his work was used in promotions for this year’s International Kaohsiung Festival without his permission.

A Facebook user named Y.C. Lin who manages a “Yu’s Calligraphy” page on Sunday appeared to accuse festival organizers of plagiarizing the characters for “Taiwan” (臺灣) that he had drawn.

Photographs shared by Lin appear to show similar characters in a sticker set and poster promoting the festival.

It is not the first time Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) administration has been accused of plagiarism, said Lee Hsin-han (李欣翰), director of the Taiwan Radical Wings party’s Kaohsiung chapter.

Han has “avoided the issue” in previous instances by saying they were the “unprompted behavior of [his] supporters” and that conversations should not revolve around “small, technical issues,” Lee said.

Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau Director Peter Pan (潘恒旭) is likely to distance himself from the latest accusation by saying the marketing materials reflect the unprompted support for Han by the company that produced them, but the bureau’s name was on the poster, which would imply it endorsed the items, Lee said.

The bureau has asked for the controversial materials to be removed immediately, Pan said in a statement.

The bureau reserves the right to take legal action against any possible infringement of its rights on its mascot, the Kaohsiung Bear-Hero (高雄熊), and other text or images, Pan said.

Eyes Media, an e-commerce platform, did organize International Kaohsiung Festival events to promote tourism to Kaohsiung in Singapore and Malaysia, but on an unpaid basis, bureau Tourism Marketing Division head Lee Hsin-ta (李信達) said.

The bureau was the supervising agency for festival-related work, but it is not the supervising agency for Kaohsiung Tourism Day events and has not authorized the use of the bureau’s name to Eyes Media, he said.

The Kaohsiung Tourism Day event poster and stickers that have led to rights infringement concerns were printed by the company without being approved by or reported to the bureau, Lee Hsin-ta said, adding the company had not received financial support from the bureau.

The materials were produced by an outsourced manufacturer, Eyes Media spokeswoman Chang Yi-hsuan (張譯瑄) said.

After reports of the plagiarism allegations emerged on Saturday evening, all related gift items, posters and online marking materials have been removed, she said, adding that only 20 sticker sets had been handed out.

The manufacturer who produced the items is handling the issue with the original artist, and while the company has seen Lin’s complaints on Facebook, it has not received notice of a lawsuit, she said.

The company did not sign a contract with the bureau to print the materials, and the materials have nothing to do with the bureau, she said.

The company is apologizing to the bureau and to the public for the disturbance, she added.

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