Ping-pong table too similar to artwork?

Ping-pong table too similar to artwork?
The Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee says it was unaware of the similarity of the horseshoe-shaped table to Ping-Pong Go Round by Cultural Medallion recipient Lee Wen.

A HORSESHOE-SHAPED ping- pong table located in the OCBC Square at the Sports Hub Singapore has drawn criticism for being strikingly similar to an iconic art installation by prominent Singapore artist Lee Wen.

The game table was put up by the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) on Sunday as part of the 28th SEA Games Carnival. It recalled Mr Lee's Ping-Pong Go Round, an installation of an unusually shaped ping- pong table, to at least one viewer.

Film-maker Tan Pin Pin took a photograph of it and notified Mr Lee, 57, a Cultural Medallion recipient, via Facebook yesterday.

Mr Lee told The Straits Times later he was "a bit upset" not to have been informed or given credit for the idea.

When contacted, a spokesman for the committee told The Straits Times it regretted the incident.

He said: "This (table) was an activity proposed by one of our vendors and we were unaware of the similarity. We did not intend to infringe on any rights, and we will work out an arrangement with the artist as soon as possible."

Mr Lee said he would meet Singsoc representatives today to resolve the matter. "I feel better that they have... decided to at least credit my work as an inspiration for their project."

Ping-Pong Go Round was first created and shown in Melbourne in 1998, and has travelled elsewhere. It was re-enacted at the Singapore Art Museum in 2012.

Intellectual property lawyers, however, felt no copyright had been infringed.

Mr Cyril Chua of ATMD Bird & Bird said: "Mr Lee cannot claim that copyright is infringed based on how the game of ping-pong is played on the Singsoc table, as there is no copyright protection in the concept of a game."

Another lawyer, Mr George Hwang of George Hwang LLC, said: "Mr Lee's artwork is very simple. It is possible for someone to produce a similar table without having seen Mr Lee's artwork."

This article was first published on June 6, 2015.
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