Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 have been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit by a photographer who claims the retailers are selling t-shirts bearing photos he took of late rapper Tupac Shakur. According to photographer Danny Clinch’s suit, which was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the retailers have made use of photos that he shot for Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 and 1996, without permission do to so.
Clinch alleges that t-shirts at issue were produced by Bioworld and licensed through Planet Productions LLC and Amaru/AWA Merchandising Inc, and then sold by Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. However, the photographer (who holds exclusive rights in the copyright-protected photos) claims that he never authorized Planet Productions LLC or Amaru/AWA Merchandising Inc to act on his behalf.
The suit claims that each of the defendants has earned substantial profits from the sales of the t-shirt and as a result of the “deliberate infringements” of the photo’s copyright, he is seeking injunctive relief (which would bar all of the defendants from immediately and permanently infringing his copyrights), at least $600,000 in damages plus attorney's fees, and the recall and destruction of any remaining inventory of t-shirts bearing his copyrighted photos.