MERCEDES BENZ SUES ARTISTS AF­TER US­ING THEIR MU­RALS WITH­OUT PER­MIS­SION ON IN­STA­GRAM

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In a strange PR move, Mercedes-benz USA is su­ing four dif­fer­ent artists [Daniel Bom­bardier, Maxx Gra­majo, James "Dabls" Lewis and Jeff Soto] whose mu­rals ap­peared in im­ages posted by the car­maker in 2018 un­der the pre­text that these artists have threat­ened to sue for copy­right in­fringe­ment. And while the artists did not ac­tu­ally file lawsuit against Mercedes_ Benz, it looks like the brand is pre­ven­tively seek­ing a judge’s rul­ing cer­ti­fy­ing that the use of the im­ages in ques­tion do not con­sti­tute in­fringe­ment. Artist Jeff Soto was quite ac­tive about the case on In­sta­gram where he shared three con­sec­u­tive posts on the sub­ject, ex­plain­ing the case and cham­pi­oning for #Artistrights. “If Mercedes Benz were to win this case it would set a very, very dan­ger­ous prece­dent for com­pa­nies to use artist’s work with­out per­mis­sion, wher­ever and how­ever they like,” one of his cap­tions read. This calls into ques­tion the real-life im­pli­ca­tions of so­cial me­dia and the blurred bound­aries of laws gov­ern­ing on­line ac­tiv­i­ties due pri­mar­ily to their rapidly chang­ing na­ture.

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