MyNews clarifies alleged copyright infringement of artwork from Homework Studio

MyNews Holdings has clarified in a Bursa filing that the artwork which it had allegedly used without consent was in public domain effective 23 November 2007, without any notice of copyright attached to it. This came after the company was sued for copyright infringement by two artists from Homework Studio for reportedly using their artwork without permission.

Published in a blog on 2007, the artwork made no reference to the author or creator of the artwork, nor to the artists who sued for copyright. According to Companies Commission of Malaysia, the two artists only established as a business entity on 24 January 2014, the filing said.

MyNews executive director and CEO Dang Tai Luk said the two recyclable bags which featured the artwork in question were not designed or produced by the retail chain company. It was sourced from a third-party supplier, which MyNews did not provide additional details to in the filing.

He added that when MyNews received a letter of demand to stop selling the bags with the artwork on 19 October 2018, one of the artists had yet to come on board as an employee with Homework Studio. Dang said there was no copyright infringement on its end, and that the company will be opposing Homework Studio's claim.

The filing was made by MyNews after The Edge Markets reported the legal battle between both companies. In the article, one of the artists submitted some artworks based on Malaysia's national identity in April 2007. The artist was alarmed when MyNews produced recyclable bags in October last year, featuring the artwork by him. The two artists then claimed that MyNews had "violated their copyright by copying, selling and advertising" the artwork without the author's consent and knowledge.