Omega SA unduly copies the Hajj inspired picture of a Saudi Artist – Damages $1.5 million

Ahmed Mater is a famous artist in Saudi Arabia and he also co-founded Edge of Arabia and since then has attracted international attention for his art, which encircles by photography, calligraphy, painting, installation, performance, and video. According to Quotidien de I’art, a French newspaper, He is going to sue the Swiss watch making company Omega SA for the violation of the copyrights of his artwork and claims that the company is stealing and wrongly appropriating his expressions and art, and representing it as their own original work.[irp]

He is claiming that the watch maker company copying his famous work “Magnetism I” in their latest ads campaigns. Mater’s Magnetism, his most famous piece was featured in “The British Museum”, in which he used a black cubic magnet encircled by iron filings or dust. It’s a poetic evocation, in which Mater represented the pilgrimage of Ka’ba known as Hajj. In this picture, the black cubic magnet was the simulacrum of Ka’ba, that central element of the Meccan rites. The watchmaker Omega, Swiss Swatch group, appropriated Magnetism in one of its latest ad campaigns, by replacing the Kaaba with a Seamaster Aqua Terra watch. The newspaper Quotidien de l'Art reports that the artist never agreed to this commercial to use his artwork and is now suing the group for copyrights and moral rights infringement.

In the legal suit, Mater’s lawyer explained that the artist couldn't possibly have given the authorization to the company to use this image without any green light from him as it is a religious concept. He could never give permission to use this image because of the religious theme as blasphemy is a crime in Saudi Arabia. The newspaper said that the act of Omega has destroyed the image of the artist by letting the public believe that Mater is making fun of religion and thus putting the life and image of the artist and his family at risk.

The Saudi artist claims for damages which are about $1.5 million, as well as an injunction to stop the company from using the image. On the other side of the story, the Omega Company is not worried at all about the lawsuit filed against it in the Court of Civil Grand Instance Court in Paris. The head of communication of the Swatch group LTD. told to Arab media that it is not appropriate to comment any issue which is already pending in the court, but we believed, it was within the group's rights to use the image. As far as the picture is a concern, we use it to extol the antimagnetic properties of an Omega watch.[irp]

It's a real technological prowess that for the first time in the history of watchmaking, any watch can resist magnetic fields superior to 15,000 gausses. Buss further said that this is exactly what we are showing with the steel dust that cannot get near the watch, demonstrating or decreasing its magnetic reluctance, by explaining more, he further added that Antimagnetic properties have always been illustrated in this way in reference manuals.

Source: Al Arabiya

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