Daytime TV icon Ellen DeGeneres and mega-retailer Walmart have been hit with a lawsuit filed by a New York artist who’s unhappy with their use of his design.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the artist, Julian Rivera, filed the copyright infringement lawsuit Monday, alleging that DeGeneres and Walmart copied his “love” design without his permission for use on their EV1 clothing line.
“The artist says he has carefully avoided association with corporate culture and has diligently controlled distribution of his work in order to protect his reputation,” THR reports.
The report quotes Rivera’s claim, written by attorney Jeffrey Gluck, stating: “Despite offers, he has very rarely made his original art available as part of corporate advertising campaigns — partly for artistic reasons but also because doing so would diminish the value of his work. Indeed, nothing is more antithetical to a street artist’s credibility than association with mass-market consumerism — of which Walmart is the epitome. People who recognized his Design in the EV1 Collection would have concluded that Rivera ‘sold out,’ diminishing the value of his work and reputation.”
THR adds: “Rivera says he sent a cease and desist letter to Walmart in May, and in July the retailer’s lawyers ‘asserted that it had not copied the Design, that its own graphic was quite different, and that the Design was only minimally creative.'”