Court orders Danish VW importer to pay dissident artist

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The importer in Denmark of Volkswagen has been ordered by a suburban Copenhagen court to pay 1.5 million kroner ($226,000) to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei for "unjustified use of artwork in an advertisement."

The Glostrup City Court says Skandinavisk Motor Co. A/S used one of Ai's large-scale installations on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea as backdrop in an ad featuring a Volkswagen Polo.

The court said Wednesday the use of Ai's installation composed of more than 3,500 life jackets collected from refugees arriving on the Greek Island of Lesbos "was a violation" of Danish marketing laws.

The court also granted Ai compensation for non-financial damage of 250,000 kroner ($38,000).

In an email to The Associated Press, company spokesman Thomas Hjortshoej said "it was not what we had hoped for."

"We have regretted and acknowledged that this was a human error from the beginning," he said, adding the group that imports brands like Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley tried to find a conciliatory solution with Ai.

The artwork was installed on the exterior of a downtown Copenhagen art gallery in 2017.