H&M is reportedly in hot water again. The company has reportedly filed a lawsuit against graffiti artist REVOK over copyright protection issues. The company is trying to argue that graffiiti does not qualify for protection, High Snobiety reports.
The legal issues reportedly stem from an ad campaign H&M previously shot in Jan. 2017. The campaign reportedly featured REVOK’s artwork (as seen above) in the background on a handball court in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
After viewing the campaign, REVOK – whose real name is Jason Williams – sent a cease and desist letter to the company, asking for the campaign to be taken down. He claimed that it “included [his] original artwork in an advertising campaign for H&M products without his permission or knowledge.”
Now, H&M is responding to Williams’ action with a lawsuit of its own. The lawsuit reportedly argues that graffiti is illegal, which makes it exempt from copyright protection. “Under the circumstances, in which your client’s claimed ‘artwork’ is the product of criminal conduct, Mr. Williams has no copyright rights to assert,” the lawsuit reportedly states. “The entitlement to copyright protection is a privilege under federal law that does not extend to illegally created works.”
Following news of the lawsuit, Swizz Beatz showed support for REVOK on Instagram. “Since H&M don’t support the creatives we will no longer support them !!! They did not learn from that last monkey move they did!” Other fans are also calling for customers to boycott the company.
This isn’t the first time H&M has made headlines. The company is still recovering from the backlash regarding its tone deaf ad, in which it styled a black boy in a hoodie that read: “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”
According to current laws, an artwork must be in an “intangible medium of expression” to guarantee copyright protection.
Revok | This is how H&M tries to assault Street Artists rights
— La Molina Streetart (@MolinaStreetArt) March 15, 2018
?⚠️"H&M attacks artist Revok"#HYPOCRISY
–#boycotthm #boycotthandm #payrevok ??
Don't let corporations appropriate our work royalty free! ?#thehatkid #streetart #artist #revok #hm #popart #art #illustration #graphicdesign #injustice #copyright #cool #arte #graffiti pic.twitter.com/ltQroLDTHV
— TheHatKid (@thehatkid) March 15, 2018