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Are Fashion Brands Illegally Copying Graffiti Artists?

graffiti
via Revok, Reyes and Steel

 

Roberto Cavalli is being sued for copyright infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin by a crew of graffiti artists from Cali. Claims started last year after Cavalli used a Sufi Muslim symbol for his Just Cavalli fragrance campaign that was found on a large scale mural on the side of a building in San Francisco. The crew filed a lawsuit back in August 2014, against Cavalli but also said that Nordstrom, Amazon.com and Zappos.com, “introduced a clothing and accessories collection in which every square inch of every piece (including clothing, bags, backpacks, and shoes) was adorned with graffiti art” that looks exactly like their original artwork.

The three artists, Jason “Revok” Williams, Victor “Reyes” Chapa and Jeffrey “Steel” Rubin who are part of the Mad Society Kings crew say that Cavalli stole the stylized signatures from the Mural (the men’s actual names) and put them onto the garments, but in a way that wasn’t easily identifiable. To supposedly hide this fact, Cavalli superimposed “Just Cavalli” in spray paint style to make it seem as if it was their original work.

Roberto Cavalli released a statement denying the allegations: “We have heard of some highly inflammatory allegations, which have no basis in fact and are incorrect; we intend to contest and defend against these allegations vigorously.”
Cavalli said that the artists never identified any specific elements that Cavalli copied and used in the collection. The crew has one person rooting for them. Judge Andre Birotte Jr. said that the artists have a good chance of winning the case. Defendants include Neiman Marcus, Luisa Via Roma, and Yoox who stocked the Just Cavalli collection.

The number of graffiti related lawsuits is a surprisingly large amount. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time a retail company gets sued for copyright infringement. The trial will prove who gets the last say in this Cavalli versus MSK dispute.

[via Business of Fashion]

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