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Kanye lifts someone’s concept art for the iPlane idea

Kanye West seems to have lifted someone’s design, even if it was just a flash of an idea in a passing remark to President Donald Trump.

The rapper and businessman showed the president on his phone a picture of what he called the iPlane 1, a hydrogen-powered plane that should replace Air Force One.

Air Force is the US Air Force aircraft that carries the President of the United States.

West said: "If he (the President) don't look good, we don't look good.

"This is our President. He has to be the freshest, the flyest" and have "the flyest planes."

He suggested that he would make it with Apple because it is an "American company", in line with Donald Trump's efforts to bring manufacturing back to the United States.

The photo West showed the president is actually a concept piece that was part of industrial designer Shabtai Hirshberg’s 2012 master’s thesis project that imagines the design of commercial aircraft in the year 2030.

Hirshberg does not seem perturbed by West copying his idea. He told The Verge: “ completely caught me by surprise. A good surprise, I would say — it’s always nice to see your designs being thought well for.”

After news of Kanye’s claim broke, Hirshberg posted photos on Instagram and his tone was not antagonistic. His caption read: “Kanye West introduceing (sic) president Trump our design of the Aerocruiser to be used as the iPlane 1 (next gen Airforce 1)”.

In fact, Hirschberg’s Behance page, on which his work is published, has been updated with a photo of West showing his design to President Trump.

Hirshberg said that unlike Kanye’s claim, his design is not expected to run on hydrogen. He said that the particular work is more aspirational than realistic, drawing on “more advanced propulsion systems and better building materials” than what is possible with current technology, which explains its flamboyant design, like the giant glass dome reminiscent of the 1998 iMac G3.

Hirshberg said he is open to the possibility of working with West: “I’d be more than happy to collaborate with Kanye West and Apple if they decide to actually take this forward.”

Although this is not a serious case of idea theft and the artist being infringed upon is grateful for the publicity given to his work and is even using it on his online portfolio, Kanye West has a history of being accused of ripping off other artists, be it for his album cover artlive stage show and fashion designs.

West, however, has a more original and fluid way of crediting people for their ideas. He said on Twitter in April: “Let's be less concerned with ownership of ideas. It is important that ideas see the light of day even if you don't get the credit for them. Let's be less concerned with credit awards and external validation.”

Keeping in mind that he would have more resources to win a court battle should he get sued by someone he ripped off, we wonder how many young Creators would agree with West’s position.



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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

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