McDonald’s recently prevailed on personal jurisdiction grounds in a closely-watched case in California about the use of street art as décor for restaurants in the United Kingdom, but the issue has quickly arisen again. As part of what the fast-food giant has clearly decided is a winning branding strategy, the chain’s use of graffiti from New York has now brought the threat of litigation from the so-called Bushwick Collective. Where any such lawsuit gets filed will have a great deal to do with what happens next.
Topics: Graffiti, Street Art, Dashiell Snow, Moschino, Rime, Joseph Tierney, McDonald's, personal jurisdiction, Daimler AG v. Bauman, Virus, NDA, Atomik, Don Rimx, Beau Stanton, Himbad, Bushwick Collective, 17 U.S.C. § 1202, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Netherlands, United Kingdom, California, New York, specific jurisdiction, general jurisdiction
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.