H&M tried to screw over a graffiti artist and lost
Popular clothing brand H&M recently faced backlash after attempting to use a graffiti artist’s work in an ad without the artists’ consent. After the artist, Brooklyn painter Jason “Revok” Williams, filed a cease and desist order against the company, H&M attempted to sue Revok for the right to use the artwork for free. However, H&M has surrendered, withdrawing the suit.
An ad for the brand’s New Routine sportswear line was shot in front of a graffiti wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that featured Revok’s work. Revok sent the cease and desist letter in January, and H&M fired back with the lawsuit in March, claiming, “the entitlement to copyright protection is a privilege under federal law that does not extend to illegally created works.”
Other artists took to social media in outrage, with some saying that the lawsuit is “a full out assault on artists’ rights.” Others threatened to boycott the brand, including popular rock band Portugal. The Man.
Yesterday, March 15th, the brand withdrew the lawsuit, with attorney Jeff Gluck telling TeenVogue.com that it was inspiring to see artists standing up for each other. The brand also released the following formal statement:
“H&M respects the creativity and uniqueness of artists, no matter the medium. We should have acted differently in our approach to this matter. It was never our intention to set a precedent concerning public art or to influence the debate on the legality of street art. As a result, we are withdrawing the complaint filed in court. We are currently reaching out directly to the artist in question to come up with a solution.
We’re glad H&M is changing their approach and, hopefully, their understanding of art and artists’ rights. And we’re beyond inspired to see so many creatives banding together in solidarity.