Three Graffiti Artists File Suit Against Roberto Cavalli for Using Their Mural in New Fashion Lines Without Permission

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014 at 6:05 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Revok and Pose mural on the Bowery graffiti wall

It’s not just Maya Hayuk versus Sara Barailles and Coach. Three more street artists (one of whom is also a graffiti wall vet) just lined up to sue for copyright infringement. The defendant this time around – Roberto Cavalli.

Jason Williams, Victor Chapa and Jeffrey Rubin — known as Revok, Reyes, and Steel, respectively – allege that Cavalli willfully infringed by using their mural (painted in San Francisco’s Mission District) in a clothing and accessories line.

This image has been archived or removed.

The infringement, Photo: Hollywood Reporter

According to the Hollywood Reporter:

“To add insult to injury, much the work misappropriated by the Cavalli Defendants were Plaintiff’s stylized signatures from the Mural (literally, their names) — giving new meaning to the idea of appropriating an artist’s signature style,” adds the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in this case are among the street artists whose works are now exhibited in museums. But they also practice a form of art that is rooted in the counterculture. In recent years, there’s been some backlash from the digital vanguard on perceived overprotection by rights-holders. But now some street artists are seemingly coming to the conclusion that intellectual property laws offer something of importance to them.

Using intellectual property as a sword is not a sell-out in their eyes. Rather, quite the opposite.

Intellectual property rights as it relates to graffiti art is no doubt a slippery slope. After all, the work is painted in public with a reasonable expectation that the mainstream will be sharing across all media platforms. Shooting photos or capturing the art incidentally in film should be okay in the eyes of the law, and most artists would probably agree. The clincher here, however, is that companies and brands like Roberto Cavalli, Coach, or Sara Barailles are swiping the work for monetary gain.

Recent Stories

Avril Lavigne Marks 20th Album Anniversary on Canal Street

Avril Lavigne returned to SoHo this week to mark the twentieth anniversary of her pop-punk debut, Let Go. The “Sk8er Boi” artist took to TikTok in celebratory gush, posting a quick hit of her standing in the intersection of Broadway and Canal Street. An ode to the album cover, twenty years older and not blurry, […]

Long-Stalled Grand Street Lot Reactivates

Despite ongoing troubles with his East Broadway project, local owner-developer Daniel Wise is now proceeding with a new development planned for Grand Street. No longer an overgrown jungle of weeds, the zombie parcel spanning 330-332 Grand is, as of a couple weeks ago, fully reanimated. The Department of Buildings issued permits for foundation work last […]

From the Rooftops: The Hell Square Aural Assault

Articles about ear-shattering noise levels, from parties to cruising cars, as well as the general lack of regard for the residents of Hell Square, are rote at this point. Almost a cliche. But to residents living in the bullseye, the aural assault remains a weekly nightmare. And this past Saturday night, by several accounts, upped […]

Pitt Pool Opens for Summer Season

New York City public pools officially opened yesterday. For the Lower East Side, that means the Pitt Pool (aka Hamilton Fish) is ready to go. The launch happened with great fanfare. Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue joined Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, Senator Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Carlina Rivera, and local kids […]

At Belse, the New Vegan Brewery on the Bowery

Belse, the Texas-based vegan brewery and restaurant, is now in business on the Bowery. The Lone Star State transplant – officially, Belse Plant Cuisine – takes 11,000 square-feet at 265-267 Bowery, in what was previously the fleeting home of the Paulaner Brauhaus brewery. The renovated space features three sections – a restaurant, bar, and Garden […]