Xiaomi has confirmed to Marketing that one of its designers used artworks by artist Peter Tarka without permission and dismissed the employee with immediate effect. This comes after Tarka took to Twitter to expose the incident, which also involve some artworks that were commissioned by LG.
In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson said: "We sincerely apologise 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."
The image, which was used as the lead banner on Xiaomi Spain's website, has since been taken down and the company has reached out to Tarka to express its apology, added the spokesperson.
According to the London-based artist on Twitter, the image used by Xiaomi made use of two artworks done by him for the LG brand (pictured left below) as well as one of his art installations (pictured right below) without permission.
Speaking to Marketing, Tarka said the work for LG was part of a a big social campaign for LG Signature products and was published in March. The images, according to him, were used wholesale except for slight retouches. LG has not responded to Marketing's request for comments.
His post tagging Xiaomi's account drew over 400 retweets and 600 likes in two days.
— Peter Tarka (@PeterTarka) June 18, 2019
Meanwhile, his post on Reddit has garnered over 3,000 upvotes and 180 comments. In his replies to fans, Tarka said he is looking for some compensation from Xiaomi, though he expects getting them to be "hard".
Xiaomi has been fast expanding its presence in Asia in recent years, opening new outlets in Malaysia, partnering video-on-demand streaming provider HOOQ in Indonesia, and filing IPO in Hong Kong. Last September, the company has told Marketing that advertising is an "integral part" of Xiaomi’s Internet services, while admitting that it has been adding advertisements to its in-built android software called MIUI. In the same year, it has also made some changes to its organisational structure, splitting its PR team from the marketing department to be a standalone function.
(Photo courtesy: Xiaomi and Peter Tarka)