Jim Marshall Estate Sues Thierry Guetta and Google Over Copyright Infringement

If you’ve been following us for a while you may remember the Hope poster lawsuit we reported on in January of 2010. The case pitted artist Shepard Fairey against the AP and Mannie Garcia over a photograph Garcia had taken of President Obama. Fairey, who ultimately lost the case when he admitted to having destroyed and falsified evidence, was claiming that his poster fit the definition of fair use.

Today we have a similar issue of photographs that have been altered artistically, only the players have changed to music photographer Jim Marshall’s Estate vs. Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) and Google.

Marshall’s estate is accusing Guetta and Google of using the famous music photographer’s work without authorization in a promotion for Google Music. The photos were used as a backdrop in a Google Music promotion and although, much like the hope poster, the photos were rendered artistically, there is no doubt the images are Marshall’s.

To add insult to injury, Guetta is also accused of creating other derivative works using Marshall’s photography that he is actually selling on his website.

Google and Guetta have yet to comment (although, to be fair, Google is claiming that they haven’t received the complaint yet and are only witholding comment until they do) but this isn’t the first time Guetta has been in trouble with photographers. He’s currently in the middle of another suit by photographer Dennis Morris, and already lost a case in June of 2011 against photographer Glen E. Friedman.

We said it in 2010 and we’ll say it again: The moral of the story? Get permission folks!

(via PDNPulse)


    Google “hasn’t received” the complaint? I’m sure they could find it fairly easily if they just did a Google search.

  • Guest

    That’s pretty shady. If you haven’t seen “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” it is one of the most entertaining documentaries on street art, and paints a pretty funny picture of Thierry Guetta.

  • HintonLewis25

    like Crystal explained I am startled that someone able to earn $4536 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you read this web site>>>

  • bob cooley

    I hope they sue him out of existence, MBW (Guetta) is a thief and a hack.

  • Joshua.

    This is just my opinion but…

    Mr. Brainwash doesn’t really exist! He was/is a product of Banksy and Fairey to make a mockery of  the commercialization of street art. The entire “documentary” was a film by Banksy made as a commentary on the state of modern art. Thierry Guetta is an actor, not an artist.

  • bob cooley

     Joshua,  I thought the same for a while, too – but Guetta is constantly selling “art” and holding shows.   Banksy’s appropriations of art are very much derivative works; Guetta simply makes screen-prints of other designers and photographers work, adds minimal changes to them, and calls them his own.

    Fairey wouldn’t be mocking the commercialization of street art; he is one of the most commercially successful street artists ever – his roots are street, but have no illusions; he creates product now (and good on him for bringing good street art to the marketplace).

  • Alex

    i also had this opinion, but my art dealer happens to be friends with fairey and told me that he is 100% certain that brainwash is real. he comes from a wealthy family so that explains his bankroll. and you can sort of tell from how crappy most of his work is that banksy is not behind it. the quality is too poor. just FYI…

  • Dave Morris

    I realise it makes no difference LEGALLY, but the contrast between the source materials of  Fairey’s HOPE poster and Mr Brainwash’s prints is noteworthy, at least to me: Fairey was using an unremarkable picture that even the photographer who shot it had forgotten about – the first time most people saw that picture was in the form of the poster. Guetta, on the other hand, has been using some of the most famous photographs of the subjects in existence – particularly his Glen E. Friedman’s Run DMC shot – and I would imagine the impact of his images relies heavily on the fact that many of the source images were already prominent in the collective cultural sub conscience.

    Like I said: I suspect it makes absolutely no difference as far as the letter of the law is concerned, but I wonder if anyone else, like me, feels like perhaps it somehow should?

  • Music Photography

     Nice post………….