A feud erupted on Twitter this weekend between American singer Aaron Carter and Maldivian digital artist, Ali Shimhaq, over Carter allegedly stealing an artwork created by the latter.
The issue surfaced after Aaron Carter, the younger brother of Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, posted a digital artwork of a lion on his Instagram and Twitter, claiming he himself had rendered the image, which is being designed into a chain by jewellery manufacturer Johnny Dang and Co.
However, beady-eyed users tagged Ali Shimhaq across various social media platforms, accusing Carter of ripping off the artist and plagiarising his work.
Shimhaq replied early Saturday, stating that the image Carter posted was "blatantly stolen" from him. He posted a screenshot of the original piece 'Cosmic lion', published on his Instagram in May 2014.
"This is an original artwork of mine from 2014, this was not rendered by you. You didnt get permission to use this work on your store, and you definitely did not get it to make merch", Shimhaq said in a reply to Carter's Twitter post.
Carter responded to Shimhaq, telling the artist to "get over [him]self". He denied stealing the work and claimed that he bought the image, in response to which Shimhaq maintained that the singer never purchased the artwork from him.
While many have called on Carter to concede to the alleged plagiarism and for Shimhaq to file a lawsuit, some users also noted that Carter updated his Instagram caption after the exchange with Shimhaq, to claim that the singer had "re rendered" the image "which [he] now own[s]".
In comments to local media, Shimhaq, who works as a biomedical engineer, declared that plagiarism is unacceptable but "not new" to him.
"There have been many instances where people used my work [without permission]. In some cases, they gave me credit after I talked to them", he said.
Shimhaq, who also produces paid art commissions, stated that he is always open to negotiating with anyone who wishes to use his art pieces.
"But to make undue profit from someone else's hard work, without even letting them know, is absolutely unacceptable".