Clothing Brand Says It Will Phase Out Logo Amid Controversy With Street Artist, But Questions About “Fluid Trademarks” Remain
07/21/2021In early 2021, the street artist known as Futura filed a lawsuit against the North Face Apparel Corp. (“NFA”) for unfair competition, alleging that NFA illegally adopted Futura’s iconic circular atom for its outerwear line called “FUTURELIGHT.” Recently, NFA issued a public statement regarding the lawsuit, and NFA has committed to discontinuingthe use of their FUTURELIGHT logo out of deference to Futura. However, the lawsuit remains unresolved and involves novel legal issues that could affect the landscape of trademark law.
Recent Cases Explore Ongoing Question Of How Copyright Law Applies to Graffiti
10/03/2019We’ve written before about the ongoing conversation—not just in the art world, but in the courts—regarding how American copyright law should apply to the unique art form of graffiti. In this post, we review some recent developments that may add to that conversation.
Suit by Mural Artist Over GM Commercial Raises New Question About Copyright Law’s Application to Graffiti
08/21/2018Over the years we’ve covered many stories about how the American copyright regime applies to graffiti art. Now, a lawsuit against car manufacturer General Motors may test a new legal angle in this area of case law.
Trial Judge Refuses to Reconsider Massive Award For Graffiti Artists in VARA Case Regarding Destruction of 5Pointz Works
06/19/2018Earlier this year, federal district judge Frederic Block issued an opinion ordering the defendants to pay significant damages for their violations of the Visual Artists Rights Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106A (also known as VARA). Now, Judge Block has denied the defendants’ request to reconsider his ruling, instead reaffirming and bolstering that earlier decision in advance of the defendants’ appeal to the Second Circuit.
H&M Raises—and Then Drops—A Lawsuit About Graffiti and Copyright Law
03/21/2018Earlier this month, retail chain H&M filed a lawsuit that seemed poised to address a central question about how copyright law applies to illegal graffiti. But following a public-relations backlash, H&M has apparently abandoned the suit, leaving these legal waters uncharted for now.
Judge Awards Damages In Connection With Graffiti Artists’ VARA Claims Regarding Destruction of 5Pointz Works
02/13/2018This week, a federal judge awarded a total of $6.75m to the 21 graffiti-artist plaintiffs whose works were destroyed in the now-famous 5Pointz case.
5Pointz Trial Applies Visual Artists Rights Act to Graffiti Art for First Time
10/24/2017If you rode the New York City subway’s Flushing-bound Number 7 Line before 2013, you probably recall the elevated train snaking through 5Pointz, a group of Long Island City warehouses emblazoned with colorful graffiti. After years of protracted litigation, a trial is now underway in Brooklyn federal district court that will determine whether federal law affords the artists who created 5Pointz a legal right to the graffiti.
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