Mercedes sues artists over Eastern Market murals
Art Business

Mercedes sues artists over Eastern Market murals

In a now-deleted Instagram post from Mercedes-Benz, an Eastern Market mural by graffiti artist James Lewis can be seen in the background. (Photo: United States District Court – Eastern District) Detroit — Mercedes-Benz USA has filed lawsuits against four artists, seeking a federal judge’s ruling that its use of their outdoor Detroit art in Instagram posts in 2018 did not infringe on their copyrights. In January 2018, the company posted to Instagram photos of the Mercedes G 500. The photos were shot in Detroit, three of them in Eastern Market, which had been beautified in recent years with more than 100 murals as part of its Murals in the Market program. The lawsuits, filed Friday, claim that a year after the Instagram post, artists Daniel Bombardier, James "Dabls" Lewis, and Jeff Soto and Maxx Gramajo threatened copyright infringement lawsuits against the company. Jeff Gluck, attorney for the four artists, said Monday in a statement that “if courts were to adopt Mercedes’ argument, it could destroy artists’ rights for thousands of important and beautiful public works of art," because companies "would be free to use and exploit murals to sell their products, without needing to compensate the artists or even […]

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