Hadid says Japan trying to take stadium design copyrights

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2016 8:11 AM
Hadid says Japan trying to take stadium design copyrights

TOKYO (AP) — Architect Zaha Hadid says the Japan Sport Council is withholding money owed for work on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium design while demanding her company give up claims to copyrights.

The Japan Sport Council was seeking to resolve the issue but would not comment on specifics of the contract with London-based Zaha Hadid Architects, or ZHA, the council said in a statement read over the phone on Thursday.

Hadid contends the sport council is demanding a transfer of the copyright for the design work in exchange for an overdue final payment.

After her original design was rejected as too costly, Hadid complained the new design chosen by the sport council, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, draws heavily from her work.

Her office said it submitted a report to the sport council detailing the similarities in "the structure, layout and numerous elements" between her design and the newly picked one replacing hers, demanding copyright negotiations.

"This document will form the basis for the discussions we hope to resume shortly with the JSC to resolve the important issue of the use of valuable design work that is currently the copyright of ZHA and the original design team," her office said.

Sport council officials were not available for comment late Thursday.

Hadid's company said it has been trying since October to obtain an undisclosed payment by the sport council.

"We can confirm that we received and rejected a written request from the Japan Sport Council to modify our existing contract to allow the transfer of the copyright of the detailed design for Japan National Stadium, owned by ZHA, in exchange for an overdue final payment," the company said in a statement.

ZHA's statement said it also refused to sign another new clause for the contract, in exchange for the payment, requiring her design team to not "provide information or comment on the project."

The consortium working on the new stadium includes two Japanese companies that earlier worked with Hadid. The outer structure of Kuma's design is smaller and more understated than Hadid's, which was likened by some critics to a bicycle helmet or spaceship that would have jarred with the surrounding landscape. But details of the layout and internal aspects of the structure are considered to be similar.