Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has fired an employee after the company realised that it has been using artwork from an artist named Peter Tarka without his permission. Some of the artwork used by Xiaomi was actually commissioned by the company’s competitor LG, the artist had claimed. The reports about Xiaomi illegally using the Tarka’s work first appeared earlier this week.
The images in question were stolen from Tarka’s Behance portfolio without any credit or payment.
“3D artist Peter said that he created it in May 2018 as part of his installations collection, as you can see here on his Behance portfolio. It looks like Xiaomi’s artists barely changed a thing – simply swapping out the ramps and balls for renders of the company’s products,” The Verge reported on Wednesday.
The artist said that no one from Xiaomi ever reached out about licensing or commissioning his art. The images that were used in the handset maker’s official Spanish webpage but have been removed since.
“I’m 100 percent sure they’ve used my pieces cause everything matches perfectly, they only changed the saturation and retouched few elements to not make it so obvious,” he was quoted as saying by The Verge.
Xiaomi has now admitted to using the artwork without Tarka’s permission and noted that it will be strengthen its internal processes for approving art “to prevent this from happening again.” The Chinese smartphone maker noted that it has also apologised to the artist.
“Xiaomi has removed the content from our website and decided to dismiss this employee with immediate effect,” Xiaomi said in a statement given to The Verge. “We sincerely apologise to Peter Tarka, and for the lapses in our approval process.