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This image has been archived or removed.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This image has been archived or removed.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

Clayton’s Corner: Overthrow the Wrong Way

In this installment of Clayton’s Corner, photographer Clayton Patterson shares news that the Overthrow boxing gym on Bleecker Street is back in action. Then, crosstown on Essex Street, two cops stopped for a quick slice. However, flouting traffic by driving the wrong way to park in front of Champion Pizza. This move seemed to irk […]

How COVID and a Bus Stop Chased Benson’s from Essex Street

The following guest post was penned by Boogie reader Sydney Fishman. For five years, Benson’s held down the corner of East Houston and Essex Streets with craft beers, sumptuous burgers, and the occasional movie night. The movie nights, according to owner Annie Morton, were the highlight of Benson’s tenure on the Lower East Side. Before […]

Next Phase of Market Line at Essex Crossing Now Visible

With scaffolding and other construction elements removed from The Artisan building at Essex Crossing, another part of the Market Line is coming into focus. Unlike the westernmost third of the Market Line, this section beneath 180 Broome Street feels less like a dungeon. Design elements, including massive grand staircase and full facade glass open the […]

14-Story Eldridge Street Hotel Hit with Stop Work Order

The hotel newcomer underway on lower Eldridge Street – recently topped out at fourteen stories – met the might of the city. Inspectors from Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on 79 Eldridge about a week ago. It’s a full order which only allows work “to provide shoring for all staircases and provide design […]

Eighteen Groups Sign Open Letter Demanding Transparency over CB3 Removal of Committee Chairs

Eighteen community groups within Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side this week co-signed an open letter to city and state officials urging inquiry into the removal of Alexandra Militano and Carolyn Ratcliffe as chairs of the SLA and Arts & Culture subcommittees, respectively. The shakeup, apparently inspired by a stated “new direction” for […]