In January 2018, luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz (“Mercedes”) posted on Instagram, for promotional purposes, images of the Mercedes G 500. These photos were taken in Detroit, Michigan, in front of recently beautified murals. The three murals featured in the Mercedes ads were created by artists Daniel Bombardier, James “Dabls” Lewis, Jeff Soto, and Maxx Gramajo (“the Mural Artists”). A little more than a year after Mercedes posted the photos, the attorney for the artists, Jeff Gluck, reached out to Mercedes to discuss Mercedes’s unlicensed use of the murals. Proceeding this action, Mercedes deleted the photos and subsequently filed declaratory judgement actions against the Mural Artists.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on October 6, 2019. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Tannenbaum, Emily, "Mercedes-Benz’s use of Detroit Artists’ Murals Leads to Lawsuit" (2019). AELJ Blog. 205.