Lianwan, a Chinese NFT platform, has apologised for causing commotion in Hong Kong as actor Louis Koo Tin Lok’s agency accused that the platform misusing Koo’s images for marketing without consent. Known to be a Chinese digital collectibles platform that sells blockchain-backed images, Lianwan showcased images of posters from Koo’s 2021 crime thriller “G Storm” and claimed to be collaborating with Koo, according to a statement from Koo’s agency Master Kingdom posted on Koo’s its official Weibo account on 17 June 2022.
Master Kingdom then clarified that Koo has no associations with Lianwan’s operations, and promised to investigate and take legal actions against any false statements, misleading activities or scams conducted under Koo’s name.
Koo's agency also requested in its statement that Lianwan should terminate any acts of infringement and delete misleading statements to avoid misunderstandings.
Meanwhile, Lianwan released a statement on its Weibo account, stating that it used Koo’s poster images with authorisation from creative agency Anhui Lianmei, however the film’s copyright owner Mandarin Motion Pictures and distributor China Huace jointly said in a statement on Weibo that they had never given any permission to Anhui Lianmei or Lianwan.
On 18 June 2022, Lianwan apologised on Weibo and said it had removed the relevant materials from its platform, emphasising that it has always respected the lawful rights of copyright owners. The NFT platform also reassured that it will look into the case seriously and verify any facts with Koo’s agency, and report the results immediately to the public.
Given the NFT space is an upcoming one, numerous copyright issues have emerged in recent times. For example, French luxury group Hermès has filed a trademark lawsuit against US digital creator Mason Rothschild and his digital art project, MetaBirkins. According to multiple media reports including The Guardian, the luxury brand is suing Rothschild for creating virtual versions inspired by its Birkin bags.
Hermès has accused Rothschild of "trying to profit from its trademarks", adding that the MetaBirkins brand "simply rips off Hermès' famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix 'meta' to the famous trademark Birkin".
Photo courtesy: Louis Koo's official Facebook account
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