Artist Accuses Starbucks Of Copyright Infringement For Using Her Work

You may have noticed Starbucks’ new brightly colorful ads touting the deliciousness that is the frappuccino. While the new promotions are definitely easy on the eyes, a Brooklyn artist is calling foul, saying the company ripped off her work.

A Brooklyn-based mural artist filed a lawsuit against Starbucks and advertising company 72andSunny this week, alleging the company copied her work in its latest advertisements for frappuccinos, Entrepreneur reports.

The woman says she was contacted by 72andSunny last fall about a campaign for the coffee chain. While the woman was initially onboard with the deal, she eventually declined Starbucks’ offer to use her artwork in a frappuccino campaign.

So it came as a surprise recently when the she began seeing Starbucks’ latest ads, featuring work eerily similar to her own, Courthouse News reports.

“Starbucks brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar to one or more of the [plaintiff’s] copyrighted works and used the substantially similar art for the frappuccino campaign,” the lawsuit states.

The woman notes in the suit that five pieces of artwork she created and copyrighted between 2009 and 2011 appear in the ads.

“The scope and reach of the frappuccino campaign is staggering,” she says. “The infringing frappuccino campaign artwork appears on both Starbucks’ United States and international websites; on the Starbucks’ frappuccino website; on videos promoting various frappuccino flavors; in print advertising; on product packaging; and in many, if not all, of Starbucks’ over 21,000 retail locations in 66 countries.”

A Starbucks spokesperson tells Entrepreneur that they are aware of the complaint, “and we are investigating the allegation.”

The artist’s lawsuit seek $750,000 for copyright penalties and cash damages.

Artist Sues Starbucks for $750,000 for Allegedly Stealing Her Designs [Entrepreneur]
Artist Calls Frappuccino Campaign a Ripoff [Courthouse News Service]