Artist sues Apple over alleged copycat work in 'Start Something New' marketing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Artist Romero Britto earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Apple and an artistic duo, Craig & Karl, claiming they violated trade dress through artwork featured in Apple's "Start Something New" marketing campaign.




The Craig & Karl piece is featured in one section of the campaign's official website, which promotes the artistic uses of Apple devices in tandem with various apps. In particular, Craig & Karl are described using painting app Waterlogue on the iPad Air 2. The artwork has also been featured in Apple Stores -- in court documents filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, lawyers for Britto say that people contacted him thinking he had done the work himself.

"These reports ranged from, for example, incorrect congratulations on Mr. Britto's new deal with Apple, to consternation from business partners in potentially collaborative or competing product categories, to inquiries from collectors wanting to know if the image they saw in the Apple store or on the Apple website was by Romero Britto," the documents read.

This, in turn, led to Britto discovering that Craig & Karl had been making similar art for years. The court filing describes Britto's trade dress as involving bright colors, thick black lines, and combinations of different patterns in upbeat themes.

Britto is said to have contacted Apple and asked them to stop using the Craig & Karl art, but has not received a response. The artist's lawyers are seeking damages, legal fees, and an injunction against Apple from using the offending art and Craig & Karl from producing imitation work.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post







    This, in turn, led to Britto discovering that Craig & Karl had been making similar art for years. The court filing describes Britto's trade dress as involving bright colors, thick black lines, and combinations of different patterns in upbeat themes.

     

     

    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

     

    Ridiculous.


     

    Yeah, and he is suing the deepest pockets involved which goes to motive. If anything, the estate of Andy Warhol should be along any minute now wanting their cut off of both artists. 

  • Reply 2 of 72
    I wish the article would post a side by side comparison.
  • Reply 3 of 72
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

    Ridiculous.
    I know that some company wanted to use some Tom Waits songs in their advertisements and he said "no." So they hired some folks to write some original songs like his and a singer to sing in a gravelly, broken voice like his. Waits sued and won, IIRC, because their was substantial similarity and the intent to imitate his art was clear. I don't know the details of this situation, but if they can find an Apple exec. saying they wanted "something like" this guy's stuff he might win...
  • Reply 4 of 72
    Does this mean anyone can be sued for creating art (of any type) 'In-the-style-of' (Manet vs Monet?) another artist? So long as Craig & Karl haven't COPIED Britto's art or passed their work as being created by Britto, then I don't believe Britto will prevail in this suit. Then again, stranger things have happened in US courts.

    Rounded rectangles, anyone?
  • Reply 5 of 72
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    bageljoey wrote: »
    I know that some company wanted to use some Tom Waits songs in their advertisements and he said "no." So they hired some folks to write some original songs like his and a singer to sing in a gravelly, broken voice like his. Waits sued and won, IIRC, because their was substantial similarity and the intent to imitate his art was clear. I don't know the details of this situation, but if they can find an Apple exec. saying they wanted "something like" this guy's stuff he might win...

    Given that Craig and Karl have apparently been producing similar art for years before partnering with Apple, I highly doubt that that is the case here.

    This guy might have a case if they were copying some specific piece of his work, but I have a hard time believing that he can sue them over having a similar style.
  • Reply 6 of 72
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Why is he suing Apple?

    Apple should take the work down if it was plagerised.
  • Reply 7 of 72
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,030member

    http://www.britto.com/front/originals I've seen children draw like this. What gives him the right to be the only one who can, as sog35 states, draw "with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?" If you look at stylistic stained glass artwork, this is how it would be done. Nothing on his gallery showed any hands.

     

  • Reply 8 of 72
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 655member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iaeen View Post



    This guy might have a case if they were copying some specific piece of his work, but I have a hard time believing that he can sue them over having a similar style.

    Actually, the Estate of Marvin Gaye successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song "Blurred Lines," because it had a similar style.  I listened to the two songs back to back and didn't really hear it myself. . . .  so I don't have a hard time believing this guy can prevail in his lawsuit.

     

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/12/entertainment/blurred-lines-lawyer-billboard-feat/

  • Reply 9 of 72
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Every single stained glass window in existence is a collection of centuries of prior art...

     

    Now if his actual designs have been reproduced, that's a violation.

  • Reply 10 of 72
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Britto is stupid to sue Apple.  You can be sure that Apple will use some top notch lawyers.

     

    So obvious this is a money grab by Britto.  If he was truly concerned about his art only he would have sued Craig and Karl years ago.




    Perhaps more of a publicity grab?

     

    hopping on the Apple public awareness bandwagon for a bit of a free ride?

  • Reply 11 of 72
    gcvgcv Posts: 10member

    There is nothing remotely similar between these two styles of artwork other than color. Mr. Britto has done a blatant job of copying his cubist predecessors. Perhaps there should be a new term "artist troll."

  • Reply 12 of 72
    "The court filing describes Britto's trade dress as involving bright colors, thick black lines, and combinations of different patterns in upbeat themes."

    Oh... just like the art that the late Roy Lichtenstein had been doing for years before that!
  • Reply 13 of 72
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,987member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dstarsboy View Post



    I wish the article would post a side by side comparison.



    Britto's work can be found here.  Kind of a combination of Lichtenstein, Picasso, and Warhol.  Don't think he has a case unless there's a piece of his which has direct similarities that I'm not seeing.

  • Reply 14 of 72
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,223member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

    Ridiculous.

    Stained glass window makers are probably wondering about suing him! Nice stuff though, I like his work.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,223member
    jfc1138 wrote: »

    Perhaps more of a publicity grab?

    hopping on the Apple public awareness bandwagon for a bit of a free ride?

    That's my guess.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by williamh View Post

     

    Actually, the Estate of Marvin Gaye successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song "Blurred Lines," because it had a similar style.  I listened to the two songs back to back and didn't really hear it myself. . . . 


     

    You seriously couldn't hear the similarities between Got To Give It Up and Blurred Lines?  That one was a no brainer for me, but this one is a stretch for sure.

  • Reply 17 of 72
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member

    Britto needs to stop copying Picasso.

  • Reply 18 of 72
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 655member
    auxio wrote: »
    You seriously couldn't hear the similarities between Got To Give It Up and Blurred Lines?  That one was a no brainer for me, but this one is a stretch for sure.

    I may have exaggerated my level of diligence. I listened to the 90 sec previews in iTunes. In any event, you reinforce my point that similarities are enough to prevail in a lawsuit. I don't think this one is a stretch at all. One could easily think that the images were produced by the original artist.
  • Reply 19 of 72
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,987member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by williamh View Post



    I may have exaggerated my level of diligence. I listened to the 90 sec previews in iTunes. In any event, you reinforce my point that similarities are enough to prevail in a lawsuit. I don't think this one is a stretch at all. One could easily think that the images were produced by the original artist.

     

    But in this case, the image in question is just using a similar style.  One which has been used by plenty of artists before Britto.  If the underlying image being created was the same (or close to) one by Britto that I don't know about, then I'd say he has a case.  But if it's just based on the style, then I don't think he'll win.

  • Reply 20 of 72

    Mr Britto should stick to making water filters.

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