RATP Dev removes murals at Cairo Metro third line station for plagiarised artistic design

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Jul 2022

RATP Dev Mobility Cairo (RDMC), a French owned subsidiary in charge of operating Cairo Metro’s third line and the country’s new LRT line, has removed wall murals whose design was copied from Russian plastic artist Georgy Korasov, without his permission.

A view of the design of Koliet El Banat (Girls  College) of the Cairo Metro Line 3. File photo
A view of the design of Koliet El Banat (Girls College) of the Cairo Metro Line 3. File photo


Mobility Cairo posted a video showing the murals being removed from the eight-year-old Koliet El-Banat (“Girls’ College”) station on line three of the Cairo Metro less than a week after veteran Russian artist complained on Twitter that his paintings were used without his consent.

Ghada Wali, renowned graphic designer and founder of Wali’s Studio, landed in hot water after Korasov wrote on his Facebook that they had plagiarised his design, using it “without my permission and even mentioning my name!”

Korasov told Sada El-Balad private news website that the mural in the Cairo subway station, depicting the ancient Egyptian civilisation, used four of his paintings. He added that three of these paintings are already sold, including one that depicts an ancient Greek design.

“I am waiting for an official response about the theft of my paintings in a metro station,” he added in a tweet on 2 July.

The National Tunnels Authority and RATP Dev Mobility Cairo apologised to the plastic artist and to the public for the incident, stressing in a Tuesday statement their full respect for the intellectual property rights of everyone in Egypt and abroad.

The two companies said they are considering the appropriate legal procedures to take against the advertising company Wali's Studio for plagiarising Korasov’s design.

In Tuesday’s statement the two companies confirmed they had contracted the advertising agency to create artistic designs for this cultural project, noting that a legally binding clause was included stating that the advertising company is solely responsible for providing original artistic designs. 

The clause stated that in the case of quoting or copying, it must obtain official legal approval from the original artists of these works authorising their use, the statement read.

In March, the two companies added, the contract with the advertising company was terminated due to other reasons related to a breach of some terms of the contract and implementation.

The two companies asserted that they were not aware that these designs were illegally inspired by the paintings of the Russian artist, emphasising that they are against any infringement on intellectual property rights in any way.

In June 2021, Egypt handed over the management, operation and maintenance of its Cairo Metro’s third line to French transport firm RTP Dev, after signing in September 2020 a 15-year, billion-euro contract with French transport operator RATP Dev to manage the line.

The new 1.1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) contract aims "to alleviate the pressure on the Egyptian Company for the Management and Operation of the metro, which is in charge of the first and second lines," according to a previous statement by Egyptian Ministry of Transport.

The third metro line links eastern and western Cairo and running from Cairo University passing through Imbaba, Abbasiya and Adly Mansour metro stations.

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