McDonald's facing copyright lawsuits from graffiti artists

McDonald’s graffiti-covered “ghetto” style restaurants could cause legal trouble. Photo / 123RF
McDonald’s graffiti-covered “ghetto” style restaurants could cause legal trouble. Photo / 123RF

McDonald's is facing a string of lawsuits for copyright infringement from graffiti artists who claim their work was stolen for the fast-food chain's gritty, urban-themed restaurants.

The revamped design, which the company dubs "Extreme", has been rolling out in stores across Europe over the past year. Last October, Brits took to social media to slam the "ghetto" design.


Now The Wall Street Journal reports customers aren't the only one's not lovin' it.

While the "graffiti-like visual language" is meant to "remind people that McDonald's is a brand of the streets", as one spokesman said, graffiti artists claim the use of their work damages their "street cred".

The WSJ reports one case has been brought by the former girlfriend of deceased artist Dash Snow, who accuses McDonald's of making him look like a corporate sellout and putting his legacy at risk.

"Nothing is more antithetical to Mr Snow's outsider 'street cred', than association with corporate consumerism - of which McDonald's and its marketing are the epitome," the court complaint said.

Another copyright complaint filed by Los Angeles tattoo artist Eric Rosenbaum wasn't concerned about street cred but money.

According to the WSJ, McDonald's "unauthorised use" of his work strained his reputation and caused him to lose several six-figure licensing deals and contracts.

The complaint was later withdrawn, however. For the Snow case, victory may not come easy.

"Courts and the US Copyright Office have been pretty resistant to the notion that the design of letters is copyrightable," intellectual-property expert Christopher Buccafusco told the paper.

- news.com.au

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