Does Elon Musk’s Farting Unicorn Infringe Copyright?

Does Elon Musk’s Farting Unicorn Infringe Copyright?

Elon Musk, CEO and Founder of Tesla, is being accused of infringing on copyright and is happy to admit this is the case.

According to reports, promotional material for Tesla used the same images of a unicorn farting into a pipe in order to power a car; material originally drawn by Colorado potter Tom Edwards. In this case Tesla did not have permissions to use this image.

It all began in February 2017 when Musk tweeted a picture of the mug originally designed by Edwards to his millions of followers with the caption: ‘Rainbows, unicorns and electric cars’.

Matt Jones, partner at intellectual property firm EIP commented for Lawyer Monthly: “This is a particularly interesting dispute. What we have here is one party being accused by another of copyright infringement and, apparently, admitting to the actions they are being accused of – but refusing to pay compensation to the creator. This is something quite rare in these sorts of cases.

“Normally, the defendant would try to argue that there are significant differences between the two works, and in any event that there was no copying. In this instance, though, there is no defence being provided, and if anything, Mr Musk is being provocative by claiming it would be “lame” for the artist, Tom Edwards, to sue, and that apparently Mr Edwards should be grateful for the attention. This is a surprising response to a request to settle the dispute amicably.”