Photo of graffiti equals big problem for General Motors
Art Law

Photo of graffiti equals big problem for General Motors

This photo shows a mural painted by Swiss artist SMASH 137 on the 10th floor of the Z Parking Garage in Detroit. SMASH 137 says General Motors should not have used an image showing the mural he created in Detroit. (Photo: Cameron Pollack, Detroit Free Press) Jack Greiner is a lawyer with Graydon in Cincinnati. He represents Enquirer Media in First Amendment and media issues. Adrian Falkner, a California graffiti artist, is David in civil copyright litigation wherein Goliath is General Motors. Spoiler alert – David is winning so far. Falkner produces works under the pseudonym “Smash 137.” In 2014, a Detroit art gallery invited Falkner to create an outdoor mural as part of a marketing project of murals to be displayed throughout a parking garage located in Detroit. Falkner was allowed to choose where in the garage to paint his mural, and retained complete creative freedom with respect to the mural. Falkner painted his mural on two perpendicular walls located in the garage. On the left side of one of the walls that displayed his mural, Falkner painted the words “SMASH 137." In August 2016, Alex Bernstein, a professional automotive photographer, traveled to Detroit and took a number […]

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