Art Law Report

Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred a Fair Use?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 1, 2016 at 5:17 PM

Estate of Graffiti Artist Sues McDonald’s Over Fast-Food Décor

The estate of Dashiell “Dash” Snow, better known as graffiti artist “Secret Snow”—has sued McDonald’s over allegedly infringing use of Snow’s street art in McDonald’s dining rooms.  The lawsuit in the Central District of California is the latest in a series of cases in which street artists are asserting their rights in copyright without any concession about whether the creation has other legal issues (i.e., trespassing or vandalism).  Based on the survival of other recent similar cases, this latest case could be a headache for the giant restaurant chain, though it may have interesting fair use arguments based on the contrasting nature of the street vs. corporate uses. 

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Topics: Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Rime, Graffiti Art, 17 U.S.C. § 1202, Moschino, Dashiell Snow, Street Cred, McDonald's

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