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Elon Musk's transformation from eccentric entrepreneur to ruthless business tycoon took a strange twist on Wednesday.
In February 2017 the Tesla CEO tweeted a now deleted picture of a mug featuring an illustration of a unicorn farting electricity into electric cars.
The mug had been made by artist and potter, Tom Edwards from Colorado and Musk's tweet helped boost sales worldwide.
However, this otherwise humble story took a strange twist just a month later when Musk tweeted another picture of the illustration.
This time though it wasn't Edwards' original drawing but one that had been made on Tesla's 'sketch pad' feature, which was a new addition to their cars at the time.
Picture: Elon Musk/ Twitter
The Guardian reports that Edwards was prepared to ignore this only until he learned that the image was being used as an icon in Tesla's operating system and also as a Christmas card.
Edwards is now attempting to retrieve some sort of payment or compensation of the image, which is basically a plagiarised version of his own.
The Guardian quotes him as saying:
It’s part of their branding now. I love the fact that it’s in the cars, but I just want them to do the right thing and pay me adequately for it.Elon Musk can be a hero for standing up for artists' rights.
It’s part of their branding now. I love the fact that it’s in the cars, but I just want them to do the right thing and pay me adequately for it.
Elon Musk can be a hero for standing up for artists' rights.
Musk has since been approached by Edwards' daughter Lisa Prank who tweeted an article about the image at the South African.
The 47-year-old did offer to change it and claimed that Edwards was welcome to sue Tesla but added that it would be "kinda lame" as his mug sales have increased thanks to him.
Musk's replies have been deleted.
hey y’all Grimes’ boyfriend ripped off my dad’s art! this is a true story! what do you have to say for yourself… https://t.co/pEu6aEH30l — Lisa Prank (@Lisa Prank)
Picture: Elon Musk/ Twitter
@elonmusk @jovanik21 It’s a direct copy of his work. And every element that goes into building the Tesla financially benefits you. — Lisa Prank (@Lisa Prank)
Edwards who has been drawing 'farting unicorns' since 2010, is a supporter of electric cars and a 'fan' Musk, initially did the drawing as a joke about where the cars energy source came from.
He only decided to speak out after hearing stories of fellow artists being exploited by big companies for their work.
He added that he hopes the issue with Musk and Tesla can be resolved and hopes to be paid "adequately."
I'd really like to get on Elon Musk's good side. He's really really interesting. But he isn't above copyright law.
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