Vince Camuto clothing brand is being sued by group of graffiti artists from New York. It is being sued for supposed infringement and misappropriation of a mural they draw by using it in his marketing for Spring/Summer 2017 collection. In the complaint, filed in July 5, artists demand unspecified damages, restitution, and injunctive relief.
This is not the first time we see this kind of case, were artists sue fashion designers for using their works without authorization. Most recent one occurred last week when Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner were sued by photographer Michael Miller stating that Jenner sisters “misappropriated and wrongfully exploited” his photographs of iconic rapper Tupac Shakur for their t-shirt line. Also, a year ago graffiti artist Rime, who is involved in this current case too, sued Jeremy Scott, a creative director of Moschino for using his art in brand campaign.
As ARTnews reported yesterday that fashion label Vika Gazinskaya is being accused via all social networks by artist Brad Troemel who claims that label took his work’s designs and image for spring 2018 ready-to-wear line.
Group of graffiti artist that are suing Vince Camuto consists out of Joseph Tierney – Rime, Cary Patraglia – Host18, Keith Rowland – Reme and Spencer Valdez – Taboo.
It’s stated in the complaint that Reme did a mural on Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn in April 2015 and in April of 2016, Rime, Taboo, and Host18 painted a group of murals on the walls on Boerum Street in Brooklyn, each mural included their pseudonyms.
It’s also included in the complaint that Camuto “inexplicably featured Plaintiffs’ Murals as the centerpiece of a marketing campaign for their Spring/Summer 2017 line, without Plaintiffs’ knowledge or consent. The Campaign included both video, and still imagery featuring the Murals. It debuted on Camuto’s social media accounts, including YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook; and was featured on various fashion websites. Still images of the Murals taken from the campaign were featured throughout Camuto’s website as well as on third-party retailers such as Macy’s. The campaign videos were also broadcast in New York City taxicabs and retail stores.”
“Bushwick Beats” is the name of the video that is referenced in the complaint, video is also followed with the text that says “Wild Graffiti, Hot Moves, Cool Styles.”
The complaint than explains that Camuto’s “exploitation of the work, brand, and persona damages their reputation, especially because they have carefully and selectively approached any association with corporate culture and mass-market consumerism,” adding that the authors are “diligent in controlling distribution channels of their work.”
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, an expert in art law, thinks the artists’ claim that they are in control of distributing their artwork should help, and strengthen their position. In an email he wrote, “One factor to keep in mind is that just because the graffiti—or any art, for that matter—is in public space, does not necessarily mean that that artwork or graffiti is not protected by intellectual property laws,” adding “The artists’ allegations that they police and guard their associations with commercial and corporate entities should make it easier for them to prove market harm.”
Jeff Gluck, artists’ representative gave a simple rundown of case to artNews. “The images from the advertising campaign speak for themselves,” he said. “The artists are livid and look forward to litigation.”