A case of Vietnam emblem - "Don't forget to credit creator"

Let's take you back in time and discover one of the most famous cases relating to national branding that has left a big question mark for more than 50 years in our early days.

In 1945, in order to expand relations and affirm national sovereignty with other countries, having a "brand identity" with distinguishing images, carrying the symbols of the people's ethnicity to manifest in publications and media activities is essential. That's why in the 1950s, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a national emblem design competition. At that time, there were more than 300 submissions, but only 15 samples of the same author Bui Trang Chuoc were selected for approval.

The "client" (government) had edited feedback on the approved template in detail: "The anvil is an individual industry image, so a modern industrial symbolic image should be used". However, the final treatments were then assigned to painter Tran Van Can, because painter Bui Trang Chuoc was given the government's top-secret task at that time to sketch out the banknote model. This caused confusion for 50 years that painter Tran Van Can be the sole author of the National Emblem of Vietnam.

This issue of copyright was expressed by artist Bui Trang Chuoc himself in his autobiography, he wrote:

"The National Emblem from decorative motifs to the content of the layout is presented exactly like the version I did from 1953 to early 1955 which was approved by the Government.

When I saw the author's name is Tran Van Can, it made me wonder that if this model of the National Emblem was created by the collective contribution of each artist, then in my opinion:

1. Not credit the author to a certain artist name because it is a common honor for the artist communities.

2. It is recommended to credit the main author who contributed to the construction of the template. Using other people's work, makes some changes, and being named as the sole author is just downright absurd.

On April 15, 1973, I wrote to Prime Minister Pham Van Dong about this. But I don't know if my application would reach the Prime Minister or not”

12 years after the death of painter Bui Trang Chuoc, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai finally signed a document recognizing him as the author of the National Emblem of Vietnam, ending 50 years of dispute over copyright.

Today, as the Creative Industry becomes more and more recognized, properly identifying authors and copyrights is not only about appreciating the work of creators, but also helping to promote investment for better outcomes. So, friends of VAN•HOA, if you use images inspired by some others, remember to credit the creator!

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