H&M Apologizes After Including Artist’s Work In Campaign Without Permission

Image via H&M

H&M has been up against the wall with graffiti artist Jason ‘REVOK’ Williams and various creatives after claiming that his artwork, which was included in the backdrop for one of its campaigns, could not obtain copyright protection.

Williams sent a cease-and-desist letter to the brand, ordering it to tear down all promotional materials that featured his mural. H&M declined, hitting back with a lawsuit that insisted the painting qualified as vandalism; illegal art could not be copyrighted.

The justification of the artist not owning the rights to his own work understandably hasn’t settled well with the creative community. A handful, such as KAWS and art director Tony Futura, have reacted to H&M’s lackluster response.

A post shared by therealswizzz (@therealswizzz) on Mar 15, 2018 at 2:09am PDT

A post shared by Tony Futura (@tonyfutura) on Mar 15, 2018 at 9:46am PDT

H&M eventually posted an apology on Thursday, recognizing that it offended “the creativity and uniqueness of artists” and should have handled the matter better.

“As a result, we are withdrawing the complaint filed in court. We are currently reaching out to the artist in question [Williams] to come up with a solution… as always, your voice matters to us.”


— H&M (@hm) March 15, 2018

In spite of H&M’s claim that it was “withdrawing the complaint,” the artist’s lawyer, Jeff Gluck, told Hyperallergic that he was not aware about the retraction.

“I don’t know what they are talking about and have not seen them make any public statement… the artwork is even still being used on their website.”

Upon reaching out to H&M’s legal representatives for confirmation, Gluck discovered that the brand was “not in fact dismissing the lawsuit.”

[via Highsnobiety, cover image via H&M]

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