Here Is a Very Weird Controversy About a Fan-Designed Pokemon T-shirt
New or established, fledgling or seasoned, all writers come to know about the possible pitfalls of making simultaneous submissions to publishers. A China-based artist is learning this week about similar worries surrounding concurrent creations, as he appears to have busted himself over a questioned design that had originally received distinction as a Pokemon T-shirt competition winner.
Anyone familiar with Pokemon knows that the media franchise, including Pokemon Go, the ballyhooed and critiqued augmented reality mobile game, has gained an intense global following. Therefore, the UTGP competition that Uniqlo commenced in October figured to draw much attention and a great amount of submissions. Promised $10,000, a trophy, an award ceremony in Tokyo and a trip to this year’s Pokemon World Championships, the would-be winner stood to become the envy of gaming enthusiasts. But the eventually triumphant contest participant, Li Wen Pei, is now facing backlash, having stated that his design, which Nintendo Life notes as a Magikarp and Gyarados design, broke the contest entry rules in previously appearing on cellphone cases.
— NintendoSoup (@ninsoup) May 20, 2019
As the Uniqlo folks had been seeking submissions involving ideas that had never appeared anywhere before, Pei, facing scrutiny once individuals across mainland China had questioned his authenticity, now finds himself in limbo. Along with his cellphone admission, there is also the Gamer contention that other garments are already making use of the design that the Uniqlo team had been ready to laud as its Pokemon contest victor. Nintendo Life notes that Li Wen Pei ventured to the Chinese social media site Weibo to offer more clarity, but commenters on the matter believe he actually verified any suspicions people had been nursing about his genuineness when he stated “I sold a small number of smartphone cases with the same artwork (before I submitted it for Pokemon UTGP 2019).”
We have read of and written about a few instances where artists feel someone has compromised their integrity by supposing ripping off their work, and we have even become aware of the odd situation where singer John Fogerty had to defend himself against claims of self-plagiarism. This current situation, which started out as being a chance for a young man to tout not only his allegiance to Pokemon but also to show off his artistic inclination, could come to take on all whole new level of intellectual property goofiness. Since the investigation is in its infancy, it will be interesting to see what Uniqlo decides to do with the title that it had so eagerly bestowed upon Li Wen Pei, including if it will declare “game over” for his competition hopes.