A Swiss photographer named Marcel Burkhard is claiming that the seagull that appears on the latest version of a 500 tenge ($1.50) Kazakh banknote is exactly similar to a photograph that he had taken 10 years ago. The same photograph is featured on the Russian-language Wikipedia article for “gulls”.
Bank officials have not yet acknowledged the copyright infringement but are saying that the design will be changed with time. Burkhard is seeking compensation or is asking the bank to admit that the image has been copied. An image of a gull in a similar pose was found online, but in the opposite direction by Global Voices.
The central bank officials have responded in different ways regarding these allegations. One of these statements said that people are making something out of nothing. Another one said that the officials will disclose details like origins, wing-span, the angle of its head etc. One of the officials said that the pose is commonly seen among this species of birds. The latest statement says that the symbols would be hand-drawn in the future to prevent possible falsification. They also said that the designs will be changed from time to time. Another interesting fact is that a business centre called Moskva (Moscow) in Kazakhstan's capital Astana had been featured on the same 500 tenge banknote.