Mr Brainwash Run DMC Lawsuit

This must be the season for artists lawsuits. First it was Shepard Fairey settling the case concerning the iconic disputed photo of Obama. Than Jeff Koons sued Canadian company Imm-Living for allegedly copying his metallic balloon dog sculptures and marketing them as $30 resin bookends. The suit implied that Koons owned the intellectual rights to balloon dogs so to stop further embarrassment, he conceded. The latest in line for a court battle is Thierry Guetta, a.k.a. Mr. Brainwash who is being taken to court by the photographer Glen Friedman, creator of one of the best known photos of rap group, Run DMC. It has been implied that Guetta ripped off the image using it for limited edition prints and promotional material for his 2008 break-out exhibition.
The photographer behind a 1985 image says it’s an infringement, although Guetta is claiming “fair use,” which would allow him to use the image for things like parody even though it’s copyrighted.Friedman’s lawyer, Douglas Linde, says they are entitled to a share of “indirect profits” from the exhibition. Linde is seeking unspecified damages for “damage to ,Fried man’s business in the form of diversion of trade, loss of income and profits, and a dilution of the value of its rights”. Copyright disputes have, until now, had little impact on the relatively new phenomenon of street art but it seems now successful artists like Banksy had better watch their backs. A thought… Was Warhol ever taken to court over his images of Campbell’s Soup, Coca Cola or Marilyn and Elvis? None of the original images were created by him.


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