This Artist From Karachi Is Accusing McDonald's Pakistan Of Stealing His Artwork And People Are Upset

By Rameeza Ahmad | 8 Aug, 2018

With independence day coming up, a lot of brands are gearing up with new campaigns of a patriotic theme. And likewise, McDonald’s Pakistan has also just released their ‘Azaad in lieu’ in lieu of Pakistan’s Independence Day. The theme for the packaging is festive and uses designs which are native to the four provinces of Pakistan but they might have landed themselves in trouble for allegedly using an artist’s work.


One of the very popular designs which hail from Pakistan and is unique to the country is the truck art kind. Artist Kumail Ali Shareef, had made his own rendition of the art.

Source: kumail ali shareef /

Clearly, Kumail is very talented. He has his artwork displayed on a website from his profile so those interested in his work can reach out to him and work with him. This artwork was posted by him on the website in 2014.


Kumail is accusing McDonald’s or the agency working on their behalf of using his artwork without his permission

Yaayyy the agency working for #McDonald's has stolen my art work for their Azadi campaign!!! Even the whole packaging…

Gepostet von Kumail Ali Shareef am Sonntag, 5. August 2018


If you focus on the border, you can see that Kumail’s artwork appears to be very similar to the one in this image from McDonald’s independence day campaign

Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook


Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook

And they have even used the design on their packaging. Imagine seeing your design mass produced on a product by a big company and not getting ANY credit for it. That must feel devastating and thus Kumail’s anger is justified.

No one is sure who made the decision, but the reason this was done was probably to save on money which they would probably have to pay the artist for their work. And since the precedence for intellectual property in Pakistan is not as strong, this is a common practice.


After Kumail’s post started making rounds on the internet, an advertising company reached out to him on behalf of McDonald’s and stated that it was not his work they had used but that of an Indian artist

I was contacted by Manhattan Communications Pvt. Ltd. and according to them the design was copied from some Indian…

Gepostet von Kumail Ali Shareef am Montag, 6. August 2018


A lot of people are upset on Kumail’s behalf as well

Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook


Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook


Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook


Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via Facebook

A lot of times, big companies rip off smaller, lesser-known artists because they know they can get away with it. Even though intellectual property laws have been developed more in the last few years, the implementation is still not as much because a lot of people don’t know about the law itself. And smaller independent artists cannot usually afford legal counsel.

Kumail did not specify if he intends to take legal action against the company but a lot of people suggested that he does so because it was his right. Not taking an artist’s permission before using their artwork and then not crediting them for it either when you’re such a big brand is inexcusable.

What do you think of artists not being credited or compensated for their work? Let us know in the comments.


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Cover Image Source: Kumail Ali Shareef via

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