Major Retailers Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters Sued Over the Use of a Photograph of Tupac

Major Retailers Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters Sued Over the Use of a Photograph of Tupac

There’s no denying that Tupac Shakur’s music helped create the soundtrack for the nineties. His heavy hitting lyrics and smooth, yet unrefined style is still being imitated today. Big name retailers Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters are currently under fire for using an image of Tupac copyrighted by the photographer back in 2002.Danny Clinch, the photographer who took the recently mishandled photograph of rapper, Tupac, is taking on retail giants Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters in a recent copyright infringement case filed in New York on May 31st of 2017. Clinch doesn’t stop there. Included in the lawsuit are other parties, including Tupac’s official merchandising company. 

The lawsuit claims that the images used were licensed to Planet Productions in 2012 by Amaru/AWA Merchandising in an agreement that stated Amaru was acting on behalf of the photographer. In response, Clinch says he in fact did not give Amaru consent to license the images. He goes on to state that Planet did not use due diligence in getting the proper information regarding ownership of the copyrights.

Bioworld, who created and sold the t-shirts to the above mentioned retailers, used the 1996 Rolling Stone cover shot featuring Tupac with his hands behind his back. 

Image via Rolling Stone.

Between the licensing fees and the revenue generated from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters by selling the shirts, the damages sought after are in excess of $600,000. On top of that, the lawsuit asks that any remaining inventory be destroyed. As if the $600k wasn’t enough, destroying any left over inventory should teach ‘em. Right? Maybe not. This isn’t the first time Forever 21 has been under fire for something like this

Issues like this don't seem to be uncommon. It raises the question whether or not you are doing enough to protect your images, and whether or not you're checking up on the use of images that were, in this case, taken over 15 years ago.

[Via HipHopDX]

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4 Comments

Jay Jay's picture

Don't forget, Urban Outfitters has used copyrighted images without permission as well. Wal Mart too with their shirts, and god bless them, they don't give AF about infringement

Chip Kalback's picture

Love Danny Clinch's work, here's to hoping he gets what he's owed

Jim McCourt's picture

You go get em bones!

Campbell Sinclair's picture

It seems to be the wild west with images. Getty Images seems to be a massive protagonist. They raided an archive of photos donated to the USA national library by one particular famous photographer of landscapes Carol Highsmith in the mid west I think and then proceeded to send copy right infringements to Carol Highsmith that created them for using them without permission !!!!! Getty Images needs to be put back in their place ! Seems she lost cause the court agreed the images had been given up to the public domain. But in that case Getty doesn't own the images either and so should have no right to send cease and desists letters to people using them.

I have personally had water marked images screen shotted from my smugmug and posted to Facebook and Instagram !!