Graphic designer Neville Brody has accused Austria’s far-right Freedom Party of plagiarising a poster he designed to support the Tiananmen Square uprising and is taking legal advice on what action to take.
The poster campaign for Freedom Party Vienna mayor candidate Hilmar Kabas features the contrasting black and red arrows used on Brody’s Tiananmen Square poster, which depicted the struggle between demonstrators and the state. These have been inverted on the FPO poster, incorporating the colour blue.
Brody is angry about the alleged unauthorised use of his designs, as well as the contorted political message.
He says he was not contacted by the party regarding its usage and did not give permission for his work to be used.
“The original piece, in vertical format, was meant to highlight the struggle of the individual against the oppressive power of tyrannical regimes,” says Brody.
“It was created in 1990 to be part of a global debate on the events related to the Tiananmen Square student uprising.
“The wholesale theft of my work, as well as the altering of its meaning, is not to be tolerated. I am now taking legal advice as to the appropriate action to take,” he adds.
Anti copying in design chief executive Dids Macdonald says the graphic design industry is rife with plagiarism but concedes that the issue is pan-industry. “With the Internet, it is now easy to go to a website anonymously and steal images,” she says.
“This is infringement of copyright,” says Theodore Goddard intellectual property partner Simon Clark. “If it happened in the UK [Brody] could demand that all posters were taken down and get damages, not only for loss of revenue but for damage to reputation as well. “It also infringes on the moral rights to have [one’s] work treated in a derogatory fashion,” adds Clark.
“In Austria, copyright isses are exactly the same as the UK. This would be a breach of copyright and the designer’s moral rights.”
A spokesman for the Freedom Party refused to comment as Design Week went to press.