Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mr. Brainwash Gets Sued

Mr. Brainwash is being sued by Glen E. Friedman for using a picture of Run DMC without permission.

There is a clear difference between this case, and the Shepard Fairey/Associated Press Obama battle, and the Mr. Brainwash lawsuit should have a clear impact of the on street art everywhere.

Click below to read more

^Friedman's original photo

There is a great article on Portfoli which lays out the big difference between the Brainwash/Friedman case and the Fairey/AP case. While Shepard has argued it was his treatment of the AP stock photo made it iconic, Friedman's RunDMC photo was already iconic before Mr. Brainwash used it, and that is a big difference.

Both used photos that were not theirs, but one created the fame while the other tried to capitalize on the pre-existing steez.

The way this lawsuit plays out could have a tremendous impact on Mr. Brainwash and street artists. Since a good portion of his work is based on similar 'borrowed' iconic imagery, if Friedman wins Mr. Brainwash could be sued for every piece he's done something similar with.

And in general, since many street artists employ iconic imagery and pictures of celebrities in their works, this principal could be applied to anyone.

Interested to see how this case develops . . .


  1. Good luck to the numerous other street artists using celebrities and copyright protected illustrations as their content. You know who you are!!!!

  2. That sucks,. Brainwash has a big target on his head because of his status and income. I doubt "the man" is going to round up all the street artist that use copyrighted material and sue them for the pennies they are worth.


  3. He made money from other peoples' protected work. That is called COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

    Have fun putting up copyright-protected images. But once you start SELLING it and PROFITING from it as "YOUR ART"- you can face a lawsuit like Mr. Brainwash too.

    Do yourselves a favor and try and be ORIGINAL.

  4. It also doesn't help the cause that the stencil doesn't even make an attempt to alter the image in any way. There is no artistic commentary on the image that would classify as fair use. It is almost literally a photocopy.