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Giant rubber duck coming to Toronto ‘counterfeit,’ Dutch artist claims

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017

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A giant rubber duck that ruffled feathers at Queen’s Park earlier this week and is due to arrive in Toronto for Canada 150 celebrations is embroiled in a new controversy.

First, Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives questioned a government grant of about $120,000 going toward the cost of bringing the six-storey-tall, 13,600-kilogram duck to Lake Ontario for the Redpath Waterfront Festival.

Now, artist Florentijn Hofman is claiming his design was ripped off.

“The art studio confirms that the duck that has been retained by Canadian government sources is in fact a counterfeit of their original piece of art,” Hofman’s studio said in a statement.

The studio said Craig Samborski, who is providing the duck, has been using its design for profit and renting it at “exorbitant rates.”

“The duck was never supposed to be used for profit,” said spokesperson Kim Engbers. “It was designed to be a public art installation to bring joy and hope wherever it went.

“By renting the duck at exorbitant rates against the wishes of its creator, Mr. Samborski not only is stealing this joy from the public, he is also stealing from the legitimate artist and creator of this exhibit.”

But Samborski said the rubber duck is part of the public domain and claims when his team tried to work with Hofman in 2014, the artist tried to charge “exorbitant prices” for plans that proved to be worthless.

Samborski claims his team had its duck redesigned and built “using none of Hofman’s plans.”

“Hofman has since harassed anyone who has displayed an oversized toy duck, apparently in an attempt to extort money and gain notoriety,” Samborski said.

Samborski’s lawyer said there are no intellectual property rights associated with the duck’s size.

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