Mercedes-Benz argues in federal lawsuit it has right to use Detroit street art in ads
Art Law

Mercedes-Benz argues in federal lawsuit it has right to use Detroit street art in ads

One of the murals that was prominently used without permission in the backdrop of a Mercedes-Benz ad. Mercedes-Benz argued in a federal lawsuit that it has the right to prominently display colorful murals in the backdrop of advertisements for one of its vehicles. Judge Avern Cohn heard the case on Monday at Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in Detroit. At issue were now-deleted photos on Instagram showing the Mercedes G 500 driving past murals in Detroit’s Eastern Market, originally created for the annual Murals in the Market festival. Four artists whose murals appeared in the photographs — Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James "Dabls" Lewis, and Jeff Soto — threatened to sue the German automaker for copyright infringement. They said they weren’t consulted about the use of their murals in the photographs or compensated. Mercedes-Benz asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to rule that the automaker has the right to use the artwork in Instagram posts. In the meantime, the company took down the images as a courtesy. The case seeks to answer whether street art murals deserve the safeguards of copyright laws or if companies can use outdoor art to advertise without compensating the […]

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