Florentijn Hofman: Brazil Stole My Rubber Ducky Idea

Florentijn Hofman the Dutch artist famous for sailing giant yellow rubber ducks in waterways like the Thames and Hong Kong Harbour has accused the impeach Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff campaign of plagiarising his concept. The artist stated that the Brazilian replica constitutes copyright infringement.

The owners of the company that produced both ducks denied that there was any similarity. The two versions of the same giant inflatable rubber duck, designed by Mr Hofman was commissioned by Totally Thames for a month long season of river events in London in September 2014. The renowned Dutch artist is also known for his giant bunny and hippo inflatable sculptures. He created the extraordinary London sculpture on the River Thames at Nine Elms on the South Bank, central London’s newest district. The piece was commissioned by Thames Festival Trust with the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, Wanda One (UK) and Vauxhall One. 

The protesters’ duck was initially commissioned to highlight corruption and high taxes. The version that has appeared in protests in Brazil closely resembles Mr Hofman’s, although it has crosses for eyes.It also has the slogan “Chega de pagar o pato” across its chest, a Portuguese expression meaning “We won’t pay for the duck any more” or “We won’t pay for what is not our fault any more”. ‘Exactly our design’ The giant duck was commissioned by a powerful Brazilian industrial group, FIESP, to use in protests against corruption and high taxes from last September. But it has made a number of appearances in demonstrations against the president in recent months.

“It is exactly our design and our specific technical patterns,” Mr Hofman told BBC Brasil. “Changing the eyes doesn’t change our technical design of the shape and beak.” Mr Hofman said the factory “made a very unwise decision” and that he considered it “illegal use of the exact design and therefore copyright infringement”.

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