Penza authorities admit plagiarism against Artemy Lebedev, ask forgiveness
Penza, 7 October 2015. PenzaNews. “Penza city advertising service” has admitted the likeness of certain design elements between their New Year billboard design and the designs developed by Art.Lebedev studio, according to the letter from the acting director of “Penza city advertising service” Alexei Nikulin reblogged by the famous Russian designer Artemy Lebedev on Wednesday, October 7.
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“We greatly value your rights and rights of your colleagues, and ask you to show forgiveness in the incident. I would like to point out that the billboard layout designed by us was used as New Year decoration for the city without any profit,” the letter reads.
“Personally, I would like to invite you to visit Penza and take part in the 2nd Penza graffiti festival scheduled on June 12, 2016, during the celebrations of Russia Day and City Day,” it adds.
In his commentary to this letter from “Penza city advertising service,” Artemy Lebedev pointed out that “progress is quite apparent.”
“In the previous letter, the municipal state enterprises ‘[…] did not use any logos or brand designs by a third party.’ This time, they ‘admit the likeness of design elements’,” he wrote.
However, ‘the likeness of design elements’ is nothing but plagiarism, the designer pointed out.
“The ‘developed layout’ is at least three billboards, but I am convinced there were much more but the sharp-eyed readers did not send me them all,” the blogger added.
He also criticized the notion that plagiarism by a municipal enterprise had no profit involved.
“What about the salaries for state officials who worked on decorating the city to the New Year? What about the salary for the designer […]?” Artemy Lebedev explained.
“The Penza city administration is shielding thieves who steal from Penza citizens and honest hardworking designers. Therefore, the court is the only outcome,” he stressed.
As PenzaNews agency reported earlier, on December 27, 2014, Artemy Lebedev rudely accused the Penza authorities of stealing a part of the brand design for a New year festival “The Best Winter City” developed by his studio for the Moscow Mass Event Directorate. The outburst of critique was caused by a photo depicting a billboard installed in Penza on the crossroads of Pushkina and Stavskovo streets, featuring a photo of a child, the words “Dreams come true!” the logo of “The Best Winter City”, as well as the number of the oncoming year (2015) and a signature: “Penza city administration.”
On December 29, the press service of the Penza city administration has publicly released a report from the director of “Penza city advertising service” Inna Revina. According to it, “the institution had no aim to copy someone else’s brand.” It also says the template has been developed to promote socially oriented content and was not used for profit.
Afterwards, the billboard that caused public outcry and the debate in the blogosphere was removed. However, another billboard on Lunacharskovo street with the same logo in question was left intact.
Shortly after, however, Artemy Lebedev pointed out that the Penza authorities had broken the copyright law twice in the New Year billboard, as, according to him, they illegally used a photo by Tatyana Cherkashina from Irkutsk. Because of that, the designer came to a conclusion that “the New Year billboard signed by ‘the Penza city administration’ is a theft of two art projects, and neither of them is related to Penza in any way.”
In late September, Artemy Lebedev announced his decision to prove the case of plagiarism of his studio’s work in the Penza city New Year decoration design layout in court, after an official reply to his complaint, that was signed by the city’s first vice-mayor Victor Gvozdev.