Elon Musk is again at the center of controversy after posting art from Nier Automata, without properly crediting the artist, and then outright refusing to do so when asked. Over the weekend, Musk posted the art with a caption that reads “2b," and then added in another tweet, “wd b…2 make real.”
Soon after, a user tagged Musk and wrote, “credit the artist elon,” which sparked an odd set of replies. First Musk replied with a simple “No,” and then began tweeting a series of contradictory responses, starting with, “always credit everyone,” “no one should be credited with anything ever,” and finally with this last tweet below:
The behavior by Musk is problematic, to say the least. His Twitter account is home to 27 million followers, many of which may look up to the man as a role model for his many accomplishments, including revolutionizing the industry of electric vehicles and founding Space X, among others. However, his statements and behavior here is inappropriate and are an example of the bane that artists face daily.
As with most mediums, the advent of the Internet has changed their industry. They create their art and post it to their online presence, which is a necessity in today’s art industry, only to have their effort and hard work undermined by, at best, people who may be ignorant of crediting the artist, and at worst, others who steal artwork to claim as their own.
The issue is widespread, and Reddit seems to have discussions and recommendations daily for how to deal with people shamelessly stealing artwork and then removing or obscuring a watermark or artist signature to claim as their own.
We all know that Musk is famous for getting into trouble on Twitter, in the most severe of cases when having to deal with federal regulators for his comments on taking the company private, so the critical observer can usually distinguish between what might be a serious discussion, and what is nonsense.
While this falls into nonsense, the issue goes back to those 27 million followers. What if even 1% of them agree with his ridiculous statement that artists should not be credited, and then post artwork without properly crediting the artist because now they do not consider it to have value, or rather, that the artist’s efforts do not have value? Well, that’s 270,000 people, all of whom see Musk behaving in a certain way, so it must be alright.
In this case at least, the bizarre discussion did lead to the actual artist, who stated:
OMGGGGGG, IIITTSSSSSS MEEEEEE 😱 My account explodes. JUSTE THANKS A LOT ALL for protecting my art and for notifying me 💙— Meli Melo 🖌️ (@MagaliProd) June 16, 2019
(Ps: Elon you're not cool for haven't credited me 😖)#myart #NieRAutomata #NierAutomata2B #illustration #artist #illustration #Elonmusk https://t.co/TYSSdMN8vy
Were it not for people asking for the proper credit to be made to the artist, this likely would have gone unnoticed. Whatever Musk’s strange motivations were for tweeting those bizarre statements, we hope he changes his tune at some point. No one wants their work stolen or claimed by someone else.