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Apple Sued Over Copycat Artist Work in 'Start Something New' Campaign

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Pop artist Romero Britto last week filed a lawsuit against Apple over its "Start Something New" campaign, for using Craig & Karl artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for. The lawsuit, levied at both Craig & Karl and Apple, accuses the two artists of violating the Britto trade dress and targets Apple because Britto became aware of the copycat art through Apple's recent promotion.

Apple uses a Craig & Karl image featuring a patchwork hand on a bright yellow background on one of the iPads in the graphics used to promote the "Start Something New" campaign, and there's a profile of Craig & Karl on the company's website describing how the image was made on an iPad Air 2 using iOS apps.

Apple also featured the Craig & Karl image heavily in retail stores, leading people to contact Britto with the false impression that he had created the artwork, where he discovered that the two had been making art similar to his own for years.
As with any Apple campaign, the Start Something New Campaign had massive exposure and breathless press coverage, and many of the media profiles prominently featured the Infringing Apple Image. Plaintiff was inundated with reports of the Start Something New campaign and the Infringing Apple Image. These reports ranged from, for example, incorrect congratulations on Mr. Britto's new deal with Apple, to consternation from business partners in potentially collaborative or competing product categories, to inquiries from collectors wanting to know if the image they saw in the Apple store or on the Apple website was by Romero Britto.
Britto's work is fairly well-known and on display in dozens of locations around the world. He's also worked with multiple different brands on major advertising campaigns, with all of his work featuring bright colors, strong lines, and simple designs.

According to the lawsuit, Britto's specific Trade Dress is "strong, fanciful, non-functional, and inherently distinctive," composed of vibrant color combinations, the juxtaposition of different patterns, bold black outlines, and "uplifting, bright and happy visual themes." A quick visual comparison of Britto's work next to Craig & Karl's does indeed reveal similarities between the two.

Britto contacted Apple and asked the company to cease using the Craig & Karl images, but he did not receive a response, leading him to file a lawsuit. Britto is asking for damages and attorneys' fees, along with an injunction that would require Apple to stop using the artwork and Craig & Karl to stop producing artwork that mimics his style.

Article Link: Apple Sued Over Copycat Artist Work in 'Start Something New' Campaign
 

theheadguy

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,124
1,326
california
Let me save you all time from reading the forum comments:

Because it's a lawsuit against Apple, nobody here will see the likeness. Down with you Britto!

 
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AronDraws

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2014
270
248
Burbank, CA
If memory serves, you cannot copyright an art style. If they used his actual art, thats an issue. If it's influenced by his art, it's not something he can go after them for.
 
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liavman

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2009
462
0
At least they are not asking Apple to stop selling the iPads. That treacherous practice was there with every patent law suit, including the ones filed by Apple.
 
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mcdj

macrumors G3
Jul 10, 2007
8,923
4,125
NYC
"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for."

Britto who?

"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Picasso was famous for."

Fixed.
 
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Rudy69

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2009
682
1,169
Let me save you all time from reading the forum comments:

Because it's a lawsuit against Apple, nobody here will see the likeness. How dare you Craig & Karl-you must have penetrated Apple security and stole it from them their idea vault! Down with you!

Image

Apple aside, that's not how art works. The work featured might use similar techniques but that's it (and that's 100% legal). It's a nuisance suit that should get thrown out very quickly
 
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MarkusL

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2014
462
2,415
Finally, an article where I get to be on Apple's side for a change. I was losing faith due to all those stories about the watch.
 
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nutjob

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2010
1,000
485
Can't copyright an idea or a style, genius!

This is just publicity hunting.
 
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bdkennedy1

Suspended
Oct 24, 2002
1,275
528
Britto will never win this. The images Apple used are not copied, but used in the style of Britto, which is obviously influenced by Picasso.
 
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omihek

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2014
544
1,635
Salt Lake City, UT
Are you serious? Now I can't draw a picture using bright colors and bold edges because Britto already did? Stupidest lawsuit I ever heard of, and I usually agree with the people who sue Apple.
 
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iansilv

macrumors 65816
Jun 2, 2007
1,053
336
"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for."

Britto who?

"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Picasso was famous for."

Fixed.

That made me laugh-dead on.
 
Comment

AronDraws

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2014
270
248
Burbank, CA
"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for."

Britto who?

"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Picasso was famous for."

Fixed.

We have a winner!

Dare I say the dots remind me of Lichtenstein?
 
Comment

airdrop

Cancelled
Oct 1, 2011
51
27
Design style that Picasso was famous for ... how you can copyright STYLE ?! what a wanker ...
 
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kdgone

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2013
3
0
In other news, the descendants of Dali sue everyone else who use an image of a melted watch.

Talk about a broken trademark & patent system that breeds trolls & allows predators to sue on "ownership" of even the vagueness of concepts -- in this case, a ****ing art design. (Reminder to self: patent "red & white stripes surrounded by blue squares w/ stars")
 
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rock6079

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2004
428
149
Why is the lawsuit against Apple instead of just Craig & Karl?

If a court were to find the artwork produced by Craig & Karl to infringe on a copyright or trade dress owned by the original artist, Apple could be found liable for reproducing the impugned works.

Accordingly, it makes sense to sue all parties allegedly involved in the infringement to increase the chances of recovery. Given the financial stature of Apple, recovery is more likely in a win. Finally, there is also the possibility of a settlement if Apple believes there is a chance a court would find liability.
 
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