Ariana Grande files U.S. copyright lawsuit against Forever 21
The legal complaint was filed on Monday morning in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles, according to Reuters.
Without permission, Forever 21 allegedly launched a social media campaign earlier this year which capitalized on the success of the 25-year-old’s most recent album, Thank U, Next (2019), making it seem like she endorsed the company.
The “misleading” campaign came after Forever 21’s initial “Fast Fashion” advertisement pitch was rejected by the God is a Woman singer’s team.
According to legal documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Grande’s representatives rejected the company’s offer as it did not offer enough money to compensate “an artist of her stature.”
In the document, Grande’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli writes, “Forever 21 contacted Ms. Grande’s representatives to discuss the possibility of having her endorse the fast fashion Forever 21 brand given that Ms. Grande’s fans are squarely within Forever 21’s target market.”
He continued: “The endorsement deal centered around social media marketing, including, but not limited to, Twitter posts, Instagram posts, and Instagram stories.”
The lawyer further claimed that the “market value for even a single Instagram post by Ms. Grande is well into the six figures,” which Forever 21 seemingly did not offer to the pop star.
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Petrocelli later accused Forever 21 of stealing the plaintiff’s likeness despite not having permission.
The document reads: “Rather than pay for that right as the law requires, the defendants simply stole it by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms primarily in January and February 2019.”
The campaign capitalized on the concurrent success of Thank U, Next, it continued, “by publishing at least 30 unauthorized images and videos misappropriating Ms. Grande’s name, image, likeness, and music in order to create the false perception of her endorsement.”
Grande’s lawsuit included a number of image examples of the supposed copyright infringement committed by Forever 21.
The document later suggested that Forever 21 “unlawfully copied” a number of Grande’s works after publishing audio clips to social media accounts, including snippets from the songs: 7 Rings, Thank U, Next and Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.
A court date has not been granted or set.
Grande and her parties are seeking damages for copyright and trademark infringement, false endorsement, and violating her right of publicity.
The plaintiffs are asking for at least US$10 million in compensation for the supposed misappropriation.
A representative of Forever 21 told Global News that while the company disputes the allegations of copyright infringement that they “are huge supporters of Ariana Grande and have worked with her licensing company over the past two years.”
Their statement concluded: “We are hopeful that we will find a mutually agreeable resolution and can continue to work together in the future.”
— With files from Reuters
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