McDonald's Sued for Allegedly Ripping Off Dead Graffiti Artist
McDonald's graffiti decor bears a resemblance to work of Dash Snow
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2016 12:39 PM CDT
A lawsuit against McDonald's claims the graffiti decor in its restaurants (right) is ripping off the work of deceased graffiti artist Dash Snow (left).   (Lawsuit)

(Newser) – McDonald's is being sued for allegedly appropriating the work of a deceased graffiti artist without his estate's permission, Consumerist reports. According to Artnet, Dash Snow, who went by the tag SACE, was known for spray painting high-profile locations like the Brooklyn Bridge and even clothes being worn by homeless people. He died in 2009 at the age of 27. Years later, McDonald's redecorated hundreds of its locations with a graffiti motif, Fox News reports. A lawsuit filed Monday by Snow's former girlfriend and current estate manager, Jade Berreau, accuses McDonald's of using Snow's SACE signature as the major element in that redesign without permission.

The lawsuit points out that the SACE-ish tag is not only the largest element of the graffiti-themed decor but also the "only element 'created' by a famous artist." It says Snow "carefully avoided any association with corporate culture and mass-market consumerism," of which McDonald's is the "epitome." The lawsuit claims Berreau originally asked McDonald's to remove the offending tag in June, but it "arrogantly refused to comply." She's now suing the company for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and more. In addition to going against what Snow stood for, the lawsuit claims McDonald's' use of his art could hurt the value of his actual pieces, which have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.