A Florida artist filed a lawsuit against Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein for more than $ 100 million in damages after the brand allegedly used his artwork without his consent.
Magdalena Mollman, professionally known as Maggie Stephenson and a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court in Central California on June 15. Stephenson also reportedly presented the US Copyright Office’s registration certificate for his artwork. “One is good, more is better. “
The filing claims that Zoetop Business Co. Limited., A Hong Kong and China based company operating as Shein and Shein Distribution Corp.used his copyrighted artwork nine times without his permission.
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Stephenson, a freelance illustrator, is listed four claims in the case: copyright infringement, vicarious and / or contributory copyright infringement, removal of copyright management information and false copyright management information.
Although Stephenson registered “One Is Good, More Is Better” with the US Copyright Office in 2021, derivatives of the artwork would have been “widely circulated” by 2019, the filing notes.
Stephenson’s complaint alleged that the Chinese online retailer took some of his copyrighted work from his Instagram from 2019 to 2021 and sold unauthorized copies starting at $ 4 per print. The artist has allowed her authorized dealers, including Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Elle Magazine, and Harper Collins Publishing, to sell prints of her artwork for prices ranging from $ 19 to $ 300.
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“Defendants copied the original copyrighted elements of the plaintiff’s original artwork without the plaintiff’s permission and created one or more art prints from them, copies of which the defendants then advertised, marketed and sold on the SHEIN website under the description “Frameless Abstract Pattern Wall Paint, ‘” the lawsuit claimed.
Included in the lawsuit is a screenshot of a side-by-side comparison between Stephenson’s artwork and Shein’s “Frameless Abstract Motif Wall Painting”.
The repository also noted that Shein has “intentionally” chosen to remove Stephenson’s copyright management (CMI) information from the artwork – including his name and signature – which is featured on licensed prints. Shein allegedly added “fake” CMI to products featuring Stephenson’s artwork by including his own branding and logo.
“In doing so, Defendants not only falsely identify SHEIN as the author and copyright owner of the original elements of the Illicit Work, but Defendants also falsely imply that they are the author and copyright owner of the Work of Art. original, “added the repository.
Stephenson argued in his lawsuit that Shein’s “notorious” business practices are “prone to willful infringement of the rights and interests of independent artists and designers who create original works entitled to protection under federal copyright law.”
The Jacksonville-based artist noted four instances where the Chinese online fast fashion retailer allegedly used the work of other artists without permission. He also said the company has already been sued in more than 30 separate lawsuits for infringement and / or unfair competition in the Central District of California.
Featured image via PxHere