New graffiti case hits BK court in wake of 5Pointz ruling

Case asks whether illegally painted mural deserves copyright protections

TRD New York /
Mar.March 16, 2018 08:31 AM

The mural at William Sheridan Playground (Credit: Lawsuit)

Brooklyn’s Federal District Court is becoming a haven for lawsuits about graffiti.

The court received a case last week that will ask whether an illegally painted mural deserves to be protected under federal copyright law, according to the New York Times. The case comes in the wake of a jury’s decision that the graffiti artists at 5Pointz in Long Island City were entitled to $6.7 million after developer Jerry Wolkoff whitewashed over their work.

The new case stems from a fashion shoot by clothing company H&M in Williamsburg’s William Sheridan Playground last year. The production firm they hired wanted to shoot at a handball court with graffiti and asked the city’s Parks and Recreation Department if they needed to pay royalties to use the graffiti. The department replied that they did not know who painted the mural and that it was not sanctioned by the city.

H&M thus shot footage in front of it, and after artist Jason Williams saw it online, his lawyer Jeff Gluck sent a cease-and-desist letter to H&M claiming that they had used Williams’ work without his approval and threatening legal action.

H&M’s lawyers responded that they had done their due diligence and did not need Williams’ permission to use the graffiti since he had created it illegally. They recently filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare that they are free to use the mural and that Williams has no claims on it.

“Essentially what H&M is doing here is asking the court to declare that any and all unsanctioned or illegal art should be utterly devoid of copyright protection,” Williams’ lawyer Jeff Gluck told the Times. “It really is an assault on artists’ rights.” [NYT]Eddie Small


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
An example of roll-off waste management (Credit: YouTube, iStock)

Big building owners prevent city from dumping container-pickup in trash-collection reform

“I can talk about erections all day”: NAR tech consultant’s bizarre fireside chat

For mall owners like Simon, Brookfield and Vornado, Forever 21 bankruptcy signals more trouble ahead

Council member Vanessa Gibson (Credit: New York City Council)

Commercial landlords face new fines as City Council passes anti-harassment bill

As House begins impeachment inquiry, here’s what we know about Trump’s Ukraine-real estate ties

Embattled Prodigy Network CEO Rodrigo Niño to step down

329 Broadway and JLJ CEO Jonathan Lewis (Credit: Syndicate Architecture via CityRealty, Google Maps)

Williamsburg developer lands $57M refi to complete 329 Broadway

10 Madison Square West (Credit: StreetEasy, iStock)

Lawsuit: Pet Smart’s animal excrement is stinking up this $11K-a-month apartment

arrow_forward_ios