Joseph Tierney also known as Rime, a Brooklyn graffiti artist, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Jeremy Scott and Moschino over a dress Katy Perry wore at the MET gala.
Rime accused Mr. Scott to have used his design without licensing them first.
“Not only was art exploited by [Scott and Moschino], but his credibility as a graffiti artist was compromised by inclusion in such a crass and commercial publicity stunt,” read the documents. “Rime has always chosen his commercial projects carefully. While he accepted Disney’s invitation to reinterpret Mickey Mouse, and placed his original designs on Adidas and Converse footwear, Rime regularly declines corporate offers to license his work.”
The giant mural, titled “Vandal Eyes”, is currently adorning the side of a building in Detroit. The graffiti contains the name and the signature of the artist.
This is not the first case to happen to independent artists. In July 2014, Miami street artist, David sued American Eagle Outfitters for recreating his most well-known signature in an advertising image around the world without his consent.
The outspoken designer Roberto Cavalli was also taken to court last year. A Bay Area graffiti artist sued the designer for incorporating their artwork into the designer’s secondary line, Just Cavalli.
Versace also stumbled into legal trouble over alleged plagiarism earlier this year. In 2013, a fashion designer named Kesh created a black and white capsule collection for American Apparel. Versace then came out with a t-shirt in March this year which looked very much like the designers previous creations. Kesh expressed her dismay on Instagram in which she made a comparison between her design and Versace’s, saying, “at least make it better than the $30 original @versace_official. this looks like a first draft.”
It is definitely wrong to steal other artist’s livelihood without crediting them. We ponder though, in our interconnected lives, we live in a world full of boobytraps. We are just one lawsuit away from bankruptcy over a word, an article or an image.