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Ex-planner halts sale of Rubber Duck products

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Jerry Fan (范可欽), the former planner of the Rubber Duck event in Keelung City, made a gesture of good will yesterday through local media to Florentijn Hofman, the Dutch artist who created the Rubber Duck project, by pledging to stop selling unauthorized Rubber Duck products and inviting Hofman to come to the closing ceremony exhibition.

As the Rubber Duck attracts lots of visitors to Keelung, the dispute over the copyright to the Rubber Duck products also continues. It was said that Hofman was unhappy about some changes to the exhibition by the organizers and unauthorized merchandise near the exhibition, so he chose not to show up to the opening ceremony. In response, Fan made a friendly gesture yesterday to Hofman, in the spirit of Christmas.

“Both Christmas Eve and the Rubber Duck represent happiness and peace. Therefore, today is the best day to make peace with Hofman and wish him a merry Christmas,” said Fan during a press conference. “The goal of the Rubber Duck project is to bring happiness rather than dispute.”

As for the unauthorized Rubber Duck-related merchandise, Fan explained that they never said those commodities had Hofman's authorization. Hofman's team may have some misunderstandings over this issue, stated Fan. In addition, Fan pointed out his commodities had been authorized by the Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs (經濟部智慧財產局), so there should be no copyright issue in the first place.

However, in order to show a friendly gesture to Hofman, Fan announced he will stop selling his Rubber Duck merchandise from Dec. 25 at the nearby balloon shop. Moreover, he plans to donate the rest of his commodities to local charity groups.

Fan hopes that Hofman will understand his gesture. Fan said if Hofman dismantles the display in Keelung City on impulse, it may affect many businesses around the area. Fan also invited Hofman to join the closing ceremony of the exhibition during Chinese New Year, which he thinks would be good timing to visit Taiwan again.

Hofman's Response

The China Post received responses from Hofman's studio yesterday.

Hofman's team pointed out that “we are not talking about copyrights at all, we are talking about the fact that our commissioner is not allowed or any third party related to our commissioner to produce or sell any merchandise. This is exactly what happened and what we are fighting against.”

Moreover, Hofman wanted to emphasize that the problem is not about producing or selling rubber-duck merchandise. It is an issue about the business activities around the exhibition damaging his original concept of this art piece.

“Mr. Hofman wants to keep the art work, art work,” the studio responded.

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Jerry Fan (范可欽), the former planner of the Rubber Duck event in Keelung City, shows his Rubber Duck merchandise, which was suspected to have violated the copyright of the Rubber Duck project, at a press conference, yesterday. Fan hoped to make peace with Hofman, the creator of the Rubber Duck, and said he will stop selling these products from Dec. 25. (CNA)

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