A California judge has ruled that graffiti artist Joseph Tierney, a.k.a. Rime, can go forward with his lawsuit against Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott. Last August, Tierney filed a seven-claim suit citing copyright infringement, unfair competition and appropriation of name and likeness, claiming Scott had used elements of his artwork in a fall collection for Moschino. Katy Perry wore one of the designs in question during last May’s Met Gala.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson is allowing Tierney to defend all of this claims. Tierney alleges Scott ripped off parts of his “Vandal Eyes” mural, which was commissioned by the art organization The Seventh Letter in 2012. The judge also addressed the use of Tierney’s “Rime” tag on the clothing. From THR:
“Defendants also argue that pseudonyms are not protected” under California’s publicity rights statute, writes Wilson. “The Court recognizes that there is little case law on this subject. However, in at least one case, the Ninth Circuit recognized that ‘Cher’ could be protected under Section 3344.”
The judge allows Tierney to pursue misuse of his nickname, and even allows him to pursue a negligence claim against the defendants in connection with this. As for federal law, one is not supposed to remove or falsify copyright management information (“CMI”) in a work of authorship.
The fashion designer was served legal papers at the premiere of his documentary, The People’s Designer, last September. The following month, Scott, who has been Moschino’s creative director since replacing Rossella Jardini in 2013, filed a motion to strike Tierney’s complaint, saying he came up with the concept of a “graffiti-based collection” — though he did not design the print.
The next court date is set for May 23, reports Women’s Wear Daily.
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