Urban Outfitters is in hot water AGAIN for stocking copies. Indie artist James Soares has spoken out this week, accusing the hipster retailer and Bambam, a third party manufacturer, of misappropriating one of his original prints. Massachusetts-based Soares, a graphic designer, who designs and sells his original prints on goods that range from traditional canvases to t-shirts and rugs on e-commerce site Society 6, says Bambam copied his Tryppyzoyd print, put it on a "bodycon skirt" and Urban offered it for sale (until very recently). Assuming that Soares' print was original (the standard that an individual must meet to show that his work is "original" in accordance with case law surrounding the Copyright Act is pretty low), this is not just copying (which is legal in the U.S., for the most part), this is copyright infringement.
Soares took to his Tumblr to call out the retailer for stocking the blatant copy, and has since gain quite a bit of traction among Tumblr users (think: nearly 100,000 notes/reposts) and Urban Outfitters, as well. A spokesperson from Urban Outfitters told HuffPost Style:
We take matters such as this very seriously and removed the product as soon as this was brought to our attention. Urban Outfitters has worked with Society6 since 2010 to help bring awareness and sales to their creative network of artists. As long-time supporters of Society6 and independent creatives, we would never intentionally appropriate their work. The origin of the design is still being investigated with the designers at BAMBAM Cloth. We appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this issue.
Additionally, they have removed the skirt from their site. In place of the photo of the skirt, a "Sold Out" graphic appears and the words "legal issue 5.22" stand in place of the skirt's original title. Now if only Nasty Gal would act accordingly when called out for stoking copies …