The photos in question are from Pac’s Rolling Stone shoot.
Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters aren’t new to controversy.
Now, the two retailers are facing yet another accusation of going near something they shouldn’t have, but this time it’s coming with a bit more circumstance.
Danny Clinch, the photographer responsible for Tupac Shakur’s famous Rolling Stone Magazine cover is now filing a lawsuit against the two companies for their use of the Rolling Stone cover photos on merchandise.
The photos in question were first used for a profile inside the magazine in 1993 and then repurposed for Shakur’s posthumous cover story in 1996, and in 2002 they were copyrighted by Clinch.
It was on Thursday of this week that Clinch filed a suit of copyright infringement in federal court in New York against Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, T-shirt manufacturers Bioworld Merchandising and Planet Productions, and Amaru/AWA Merchandising, the company that handles all licensing of Tupac merchandise.
According to the suit, however, Amaru/AWA claims that they entered a license agreement with Planet Productions in 2012 that allowed the latter to use photos of Tupac, including Clinch’s.
Planet then authorized BioWorld to create apparel that would then be sold to Forever 21 and Urban Outfitter as part of a greater distribution deal.
This agreement is alleged to have occurred under the authorization of each copyright holder of each photo of Tupac. But, Clinch maintains that this never happened.
“Defendants, without the authorization, knowledge or consent of the plaintiff, deliberately and willfully copied, displayed, distributed, and sold the copyrighted photographs on such infringing T-shirts and perhaps other apparel,” writes the lawsuit.
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Clinch is currently seeking $600,00 in damages in addition to the destruction of remaining T-shirts, and an order that prohibits the companies from using the copyrighted image in the future.