CHINESE UPSTART Xiaomi is no stranger to accusations of foul play. When it launched in the UK last year, it immediately came under fire for offering incredible deals that were almost impossible to redeem - and that's before we even get into the issue of intellectual property.
This time though, it's slightly different. The company appears to have blatantly plagiarised a number of 3D images to promote their products that are appearing on Spanish advertising materials.
Digital artist Peter Tarka created a series of image for his "Installations" collection, but something almost identical has popped up on the Xiaomi Spain homepage. And it's not the only one.
It seems as if Xiaomi has augmented their own bits straight on to the original piece, which was actually licenced for use, not to Xiaomi - but to LG.
Speaking to The Verge, Tarka said: "I'm 100 per cent sure they've used my pieces cause everything matches perfectly, they only changed the saturation and retouched [a] few elements to not make it so obvious,"
Part of the problem here is that companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and of course, Huawei arrived in the Western market, still a bit wet behind the ears. Chinese standards on copyright and intellectual property work differently, and there's often an assumption that imitation will be taken as flattery here, too - and the fact is, it just doesn't work that way.
Take a look at any grey market shopping site and you'll find frauds, forgeries, plagiarism and rip-offs a-plenty, but it still feels like nobody has told Xiaomi to play by the rules, or they ignored the memo - take a look at their true-wireless earbuds. Even an Apple employee would do a double-take.
As of Wednesday, it appears that Xiaomi has taken down the offending image, but what do we always say? The internet never forgets.
In a comment given to INQ, Xiaomi sobbed: "After investigating artist Peter Tarka's comments on the misuse of his artwork on Xiaomi Spain's website, Xiaomi has determined that a designer used Peter Tarka's design without permission.
"Xiaomi has removed the content from our website and decided to dismiss this employee with immediate effect. We sincerely apologize 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.
"We've reached Peter Tarka to express our apology." μ
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