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A comparison between Tarka's work (above) and Xiaomi's web banner (below) Source: Reddit
A comparison between Tarka's work (above) and Xiaomi's web banner (below) Source: Reddit

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Xiaomi fires employee for lifting artist's work

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has fired an employee for using an artist's work on a company website without permission.

The image, which was used as the lead banner on Xiaomi Spain’s website, has been taken down and the company has admitted to being in the wrong and apologised to the artist, Peter Tarka.

Tarka told Marketing that he had initially been commissioned by Korean electronics company LG as part of an advertising campaign for LG Signature products. His work for LG was published in March. The images, which Tarka thinks were taken from his Behance portfolio where they are available in high resolution, were used by Xiaomi with some light edits.

Tarka called out Xiaomi on Twitter mid June when he found out about the copyright infringement. He said no one from Xiaomi had contacted him about licensing or commissioning his art.

The artist even made a GIF showing the similarities between his work and Xiaomi's copy. The main structure was changed only slightly, and a chair and a hanging light from two other pieces of his have been added around it.

He said on a thread about the issue on Reddit that he is not likely to sue Xiaomi as he thinks it will not be easy, and prefers to accept an apology and some compensation. But a commentor said it will not be easy to even get compensation. Tarka also said he was sharing it for "the awareness, I'm not even expecting the apology from them…"

All the more it was pleasantly surprising Xiaomi said that an investigation revealed a designer used Tarka's work without permission. It sent a statement to media outlets: "We sincerely apologise to Peter Tarka, and for the lapses in our approval process. The employee’s actions go against our company values of respecting intellectual property, and we will further strengthen our internal approval processes to prevent this from happening again."

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Mark Laudi

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