H&M has done it again! Just 2 months after the infamous “Coolest Monkey in The Jungle” ad, they’ve managed to get themselves into another messy situation. In a recent H&M active wear ad, a street graffiti artist claims H&M used his work without permission and is suing the company for blatantly denying copyright laws.
H&M was approached by street artist Revok (real name Jason Williams), who spotted his graffiti (image below) in H&M’s advertising for their “New Routine” sportswear campaign. Revok claims he was never asked for permission to feature his artwork in H&M promotional material and demanded compensation.
According to Hypebeast, Revok’s lawyers sent H&M a cease and desist letter stating that “unauthorized use of his [Willaims] original artwork, and the manner in which it is using the work, is damaging and is likely to cause consumers familiar with his work to believe there is a relationship between the parties.”
H&M fired back with their own lawsuit against Revok arguing that because graffiti, by nature, is “the product of criminal conduct,” the artist holds no copyright to it: “The entitlement to copyright protection is a privilege under federal law that does not extend to illegally created works,” the lawsuit states.
H&M also claims they inquired with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation about shooting at the William Sheridan Playground handball court and whether they have to pay royalties to the artist, but their response was that “graffiti on the park handball wall was unauthorized and constituted vandalism.”
Now artists all over the world are asking for an H&M boycott. The argument is now whether or not illegal artwork should be supported by copyright laws. The obvious upsetting factor is that any artist, illegal or not wants respectful credit for their work. Especially if a corporation this big is making a profit off of it.
What are your thoughts? Do you side with the artist or H&M? Tweet us your thoughts @U92SLC!
Nikki Rae | Weekdays: Monday – Friday 10AM-3PM