Art 
67,800 Hypes 24 Comments

Mercedes-Benz Featured Detroit Murals in Ads, Now Suing Artists Who Made the Artworks

An ongoing copyright infringement case surrounding street art in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

This past Monday, Mercedes-Benz filed a federal lawsuit claiming that it has the right to feature street art in advertisements surrounding its G 500 vehicle. Photos of the ads were posted on Instagram last year, spotlighting the SUV set against backdrops of murals located at the Eastern Market in Detroit. The murals were made by artists Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James “Dabls” Lewis, and Jeff Soto.

Currently, the automaker and the four aforesaid artists are in a legal battle revolving whether or not the ads promoted on the social media platform constitutes as copyright infringement. Mercedes-Benz is seeking a ruling from a federal judge at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan stating that the company had the right to spotlight the works in their now-deleted Instagram posts. On the other hand, the artists are fighting back to make sure that their works are protected.

“A mural that Maxx and I created was used by Mercedes Benz in their advertising without our permission or knowledge. We attempted to discuss the matter with them, but instead, they sued us claiming they did not violate any copyright laws and are asking the court to rule that we have no rights against them,” said Jeff Soto in a statement sent to HYPEBEAST. “In fact, they filed these lawsuits secretly while we were still talking with them and waiting to hear back from them.”

“Mercedes has made their choice and they will forever be on the wrong side of history.”

The case is especially a crucial one for artists whose works are publicly displayed. The attorney for the artists, Jeff Gluck, tells us: “If courts were to agree with Mercedes, and companies no longer needed permission to use and exploit outdoor murals, then maybe artists would hesitate before creating works in outdoor spaces. Because of this, we stand to lose such an important and beautiful part of our culture.” He adds: “Mercedes has made their choice and they will forever be on the wrong side of history. We will prevail just as we have in the past against other corporations who have tried to use these same bullying tactics against artists.”

As the case continues, renowned artists such as Shepard Fairey, Tristan Eaton, and more are expressing their support for the artists on Instagram, featured below.

The issue here isn’t anything new. Last March, H&M engaged in a controversial legal dispute with artist Jason “REVOK” Williams (who was also represented by Gluck) over the copyright usage of his work in an advertising campaign.

Stay tuned for updates on the lawsuit and let us know your thoughts on the matter.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

SP-Arte's SOLO Sector Sheds Light On Latin American's Multiple Identities
Art 

SP-Arte's SOLO Sector Sheds Light On Latin American's Multiple Identities

Curator Alexia Tala discusses her process for curating the SOLO Sector at the major art fair.

JR's Installation at the Musée du Louvre Torn to Shreds in a Single Day
Art

JR's Installation at the Musée du Louvre Torn to Shreds in a Single Day

The artist went on Twitter to comment on the incident.

London's David Zwirner Gallery Celebrates the '70s With William Eggleston Solo Exhibition
Art

London's David Zwirner Gallery Celebrates the '70s With William Eggleston Solo Exhibition

Capturing the golden hours of southern North America.

Best Art Drops: JR x The Skateroom Decks, OBEY x INVADER Collab & More
Art 

Best Art Drops: JR x The Skateroom Decks, OBEY x INVADER Collab & More

Including a ‘Michael Jordan’ (1990) painting by late influential American artist, LeRoy Neiman.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi' Painting Has Disappeared
Art

Leonardo Da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi' Painting Has Disappeared

The whereabouts of the world’s most expensive painting is unknown.


KAWS Shatters Auction Record with $14.8 Million USD Painting
Art

KAWS Shatters Auction Record with $14.8 Million USD Painting

From Sotheby’s Hong Kong and NIGO’s long-anticipated sale.

Francis Bacon Painting Worth Upwards of $20 Million USD Hits Sotheby's Auction
Art

Francis Bacon Painting Worth Upwards of $20 Million USD Hits Sotheby's Auction

From the late British painter’s iconic ‘Screaming Pope’ series.

Stickymonger Reveals New Paintings for Takashi Murakami's Hidari Zingaro Gallery
Art

Stickymonger Reveals New Paintings for Takashi Murakami's Hidari Zingaro Gallery

Signaling the NYC-based artist’s first solo exhibition in Japan.

French Artist JR Transforms Musée du Louvre With Massive Optical Illusion
Art

French Artist JR Transforms Musée du Louvre With Massive Optical Illusion

To commemorate late influential filmmaker, Agnes Varda.

Greg Mike Paints His Vision of the City for Nike's SNKRS Atlanta Pop-Up
Art

Greg Mike Paints His Vision of the City for Nike's SNKRS Atlanta Pop-Up

Popular landmarks get turned into quirky characters.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.