Photographer Sues Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters over Illegal Use of Tupac Photo

Last week, a photographer responsible for two popular photos of the late Tupac Shakur filed a lawsuit against Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Bioworld Merchandising, Planet Productions and Amaru/Awa Merchandising over the use of his photographs.

Danny Clinch filed the suit in New York on May 31st, accusing the retail giants, merchandising companies and the company in charge of licensing the merchandise, of using the photos without permission.

According to Consumerist, the photos were taken and featured on the 1993 cover of Rolling Stone magazine, then again three years later. In 2002, the photographer copyrighted the photos, to protect his possession of them, but ten years later, Amaru/AWA Merchandising and Planet Productions drew up a licensing agreement that would allow Planet Productions to use Tupac’s photos, including Clinch’s copyrighted photographs. Planet Productions then gave several retailers permission to create T-shirts and merchandise with the images, who then distributed and sold the merchandise to Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.

The 2012 agreement claimed that Amaru gave permission to use the photos by each copyright holder, but Clinch has since refuted those claims, prompting his recent filing.

Now, Clinch is suing for $600,000 in licensing fees and revenue from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters for selling shirts with his photo. He also wants the rest of the merchandise with his photo to be discontinued and destroyed.


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