Photographer sues Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters over Tupac T-shirts

Forever 21, Urban OutfittersPhotographer, Danny Clinch has filed copyright infringement suit against the fashion brands Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 claiming that they have used his photos of rapper Tupac Shakur on their T-shirts without his permissions. The impugned photographs were featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 and 1996. Clinch is demanding USD 600,000 in damages and destruction of remaining inventories of t-shirts.

The lawsuit was filed against Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Bioworld Merchandising, Planet Productions and Amaru/Awa Merchandising over the use of his photographs.

Danny Clinch filed the suit in New York, accusing the retail giants, merchandising companies and the company in charge of licensing the merchandise, of using the photos without permission.

The photos were taken and featured on the 1993 cover of Rolling Stone magazine, then again three years later. In 2002, the photographer copyrighted the photos, to protect his possession of them, but ten years later, Amaru/AWA Merchandising and Planet Productions drew up a licensing agreement that would allow Planet Productions to use Tupac’s photos, including Clinch’s copyrighted photographs.

Planet Productions then gave several retailers permission to create T-shirts and merchandise with the images, who then distributed and sold the merchandise to Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.

The 2012 agreement claimed that Amaru gave permission to use the photos by each copyright holder, but Clinch has since refuted those claims, prompting his recent filing.

Now, Clinch is suing for $600,000 in licensing fees and revenue from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters for selling shirts with his photo. He also wants the rest of the merchandise with his photo to be discontinued and destroyed.


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