14 August 2019CopyrightSaman Javed

Billie Eilish merch in anime copying row

US singer Billie Eilish is facing criticism after it emerged that several articles of clothing from her merchandise collaboration with fashion brand Siberia Hills featured copyright-protected artwork.

On Saturday, August 10, Siberia Hills took to its Instagram to issue an apology to anime artist Makoto Qurokawa to apologise for the infringement.

“To the talented artist Mr Qurokawa, we apologise for taking from your artwork for our merchandise collaboration with Billie Eilish,” the Instagram post said.

“Billie and her team were not aware that we used your art, they just believed in the product,” it added.

Two hoodies and one t-shirt from the collection were found to bear the artist’s anime. The infringement was first spotted by fans of Qurokawa on social media.

Qurokawa issued a statement on Twitter thanking fans for bringing the infringement to light.

He said: “I was informed that a company used one of my fan-art of an existing copyrighted character on the clothes for sale without permission. I didn’t permit them to use my fan-art for their design work. I didn’t permit them to use my fan-art for merchandise.”

“My fan-art is a fan-art of an existing copyrighted character. The copyright belongs to the original holder. Unauthorised merchandise is not allowed,” Qurokawa added.

In its statement, Siberia Hills said it would no longer sell the merchandise and any customers who had already purchased the infringing products will be issued a full refund.

The items have also been removed from Eilish’s merchandise site.

This story was first published on TBO.

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