General Motors has claimed the graffiti mural painted on a Detroit parking garage is “architectural work” and the automaker cannot be held responsible for copyright infringement.
Graffiti artist Adrian Falkner served GM the lawsuit last January and a court hearing is scheduled on Monday to hear arguments. Automotive News reported on Wednesday that GM will argue the “architectural work” to shield itself from any infringement.
“This right to photograph an architectural work extends to those portions of the work containing pictorial, graphic or sculptural elements,” the court filing states. “Because [Falkner’s] mural is painted onto an architectural work it falls squarely within the ‘pictorial representation’ exemption, and his copyright infringement claim should be dismissed.”
GM also claims the freelance photographer that shot the photo of the 2017 Cadillac XT5 for GM-branded social media was not aware the other part of the mural contained Falkner’s signature, which the artist says GM intentionally hid.
David Ludwig, of Washington, D.C., law firm Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, told AN the Cadillac situation is different from the mural appearing in a film or something similar.
“It is a still image versus a video, so it’s kind of right there on their website for all to see,” Ludwig said. “And even if it was more in the background, if it’s still a prominent piece of the ad, it’s going to support a claim.”
GM’s statement explained the situation in greater detail.
As a part of a program where Cadillac loans cars to a variety of artists to use in their work, Cadillac loaned an up-and-coming photographer a vehicle and captured a variety of images. The photographer provided Cadillac with the images with written permission to use in social media. The image was not part of a larger campaign and was only posted on GM-owned social channels.
Cadillac is a frequent and significant supporter of artists. Cadillac’s NYC Global Headquarters itself contains Cadillac House — a public space hosting exhibitions frequently. The brand’s active in many other realms supporting artists, designers and creators