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Plane’s Paint Called Plain Plagiarism

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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Finland's largest airline will strip a new paint scheme from one of its aircraft after the designer admitted copying the work from a Ukrainian folk artist.

Finnair had teamed up with Marimekko, a Finnish design house and fashion retailer, to design the aircraft paint pattern, which depicts a forest of blue trees, the Associated Press reported.

The work was produced by designer Kristina Isola, who drew the design for Marimekko in 2007. However, accusations of plagiarism arose last week after Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported on the similarities between Isola's "Metsänväki" (forest dwellers) design and a 1963 painting by late folk artist Maria Pryimachenko.

Finnair plagiarism

After painting an Airbus 330 with a tree design, Finnair discovered that the work had been plagiarized from a 1963 Ukranian painting. The airline now says it will paint over it immediately.

A spokeswoman for Finnair told the AP that the design would be painted over as soon as possible.

From Ideal to Shameful

The painted Airbus 330 was unveiled in early May, "The Metsänväki print by Kristina Isola is a strong statement about the Finnish spirit and the forest-inspired energy that makes Finns tick," Marimekko creative director Minna Kemell-Kutvonen said at the time.

"The print combines the majesty and fairytale-like magic of the Finnish forest. This makes it an ideal greeting from Finland, carried on the blue and white wings of Finnair around the world."

The Finnish government is the airline's majority stockholder. The plane was scheduled to fly from Finnair's Helsinki hub to 13 Asian destinations and New York.

Airplane plagiarism painting Finnair livery
WikiPaintings (left); Helsingin Sanomat (right)

Left: Folk artist Maria Pryimachenko painted "Rat on a Journey" 50 years ago. Right: A green version of Finnair's new livery, which was painted in blue but will now be removed after allegations of plagiarism.

Isola has since apologized for the plagiarism, the International Business Times reported.

"I didn't think about copyright or that I took someone else's creative work," Isola said. "'Forest Folk' felt so close to me, and I wanted to share that forest feeling with as many people as possible. I understand now that my actions were wrong, and I regret and am ashamed of what I did."

The director of the National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Art, which owns the original painting, told Reuters that it planned to seek legal advice, calling the incident "a serious case of copyright violation."

Finnair's spokeswoman told the AP that the incident would not harm the airline's collaboration with Marimekko, which includes an Airbus 340 featuring Maija Isola's Unikko floral print from 1964, as well as a collection of textiles and tableware available for in-flight purchase.


Tagged categories: Aerospace; Decorative painting

Comment from Simon Hope, (6/4/2013, 5:11 AM)

Wow, that really is 'copy and paste' at its worst!!

Comment from Ken Tibbetts, (6/6/2013, 8:03 AM)

There's only been one case of successful plagairism that I know of: The "Harry Potter" series.

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