Taiwan Bureaucrats Draw Heat for Star Wars Recycling Campaign

Taiwan Bureaucrats Draw Heat for Star Wars Recycling Campaign

Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang

A Taiwan government department has been accused of plagiarism after allegedly using US comic book and movie characters in a public campaign.

To promote recycling during a music festival in Kenting held earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) ran a press conference featuring a range of costumes and images of characters.

Critics have said many of the characters are similar to those seen in Star Wars, Deadpool, and Batman.

Chung Meng-shun, chairman of the Taipei Comic Artist Labor Union, shared the images and photos from the recycling promotion campaign on Facebook. Chung also established an event on Facebook, hoping to draw thousands of people to comment on the issue and attract the attention of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen.

The seemingly brazen case of plagiarism surprised many netizens. More than 3,000 joined the event and some called for the issue to be reported to DC Comics, Warner Bros and The Walt Disney Company.

Days later, the EPA removed all of the images that might be considered plagiarized from its Facebook page .

In a statement, it said the images were used for public service activities, not profit-making ones.

A few weeks earlier, state-owned Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) was criticized over its new passenger safety video.

So-called TRA Superman, the main character in the video, was said to closely resemble Marvel’s Ant-Man. Copyright lawyers reportedly found more than ten similarities between the two.

In response, TRA said it had used experienced companies to produce the video. While people may hold different views on whether the TRA Superman is ugly or not, the goal was to make people more aware of the importance of passenger safety, TRA said.

Despite the backlash against the video from Taiwanese graphic designers and the public, it is still available to watch on YouTube at the time of writing.

Edited by Edward White

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“TRA’s Superman too close to comic character: critics” (Taipei Times)