Elon Musk has been caught up in a farting unicorn dispute with a potter after his tech company allegedly used a potter's artwork without permission or compensation.

In 2017 Elon Musk tweeted a photo of Colorado potter Tom Edwards' mug featuring a cartoon of a unicorn farting electricity.

Musk, the Tesla CEO, called it "maybe my favourite mug ever" back in a tweet in February 2017.

The endorsement bumped sales around the world, pleasing Edwards greatly.


However, a month later Edwards was shocked when Musk tweeted a copy of his cartoon image to promote Tesla's new "sketch pad" feature.

This is the tweet Elon Musk sent out just a month after promoting Tom Edwards' artwork. Photo / Twitter
This is the tweet Elon Musk sent out just a month after promoting Tom Edwards' artwork. Photo / Twitter

wrote that multiple news agencies inaccurately reported that Musk was the one who created the cartoon.

The artist then learned that his farting unicorn artwork was going to be used in Tesla's operating system as a small icon and that it was used in its Christmas message.

Edwards says he doesn't have an issue with them using it but says he should be paid out for the artwork he designed.

"It's part of their branding now. I love the fact that it's in the cars, but I just want them to do the right thing and pay me adequately for it," Edwards said.

And Edwards believes Musk could use the dispute in his favour.

"Elon Musk can be a hero for standing up for artists' rights."

However, Musk isn't playing ball, earlier this week tweeting Edwards' daughter saying it would be "lame" to sue Tesla and that he should be grateful for the "attention".

Edwards' daughter Lisa Prank believes the art was "ripped off" by Musk, who said he had offered to pay.

On Thursday morning, Musk tweeted a journalist saying: "I offered to pay the guy who drew it twice already for something I don't even want."

In response to another tweet, he said: "I definitely care about artists getting compensated. It would be unfair not to do so."

Artists have long been fighting against blatant corporate theft and copyright infringement that appears to have become rampant.

The constant ripping off of artists' work has forced many to engage in expensive legal battles in an attempt to get paid.

The Guardian reported that Tesla declined to comment.