Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 both found themselves in hot water over copyright infringement, but its not because they were “ripping off” another designer’s collection. No, this time it’s because of Tupac Shakur!
Apparently Danny Clinch, the photographer who took the photos of Tupac for two '90s Rolling Stone covers, is saying that the retailers did not have his permission to use his photo of Tupac for apparel and filed a lawsuit. Knowing that these photos would become very valuable after Tupac’s death, the photographer copyrighted his photos of the artist in 2012.
Amaru/AWA Merchandising, which licensed the Tupac shirts to be distributed to Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters, said they received all permissions needed relating to the photos of Tupac, but Danny Clinch alleges he wasn’t asked. The retailers produced shirts using the images for profit, of course. Because of this, Danny is demanding damages in excess of $600,000, which includes fees and revenue. And that’s not all. He also wants the remaining shirts that hold these photos destroyed.
Allegations of this nature are unfortunately not new for the two retailers when it comes to musicians, especially Black ones. Forever 21 and Topshop were recently accused of knocking off Rihanna's Fenty X Puma slides, Kanye West's tour merch and even the font of Frank Ocean’s latest album Blonde! As far as Urban Outfitters goes, they were even recently sued by a festival. Coachella took them to court for selling unauthorized festival merch.
As of now, the photographer’s lawsuit is at a standstill until Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters respond to the allegations. We are curious to know what will happen next and even more curious to think about what Tupac would think.
(Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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