American Eagle plastered big, droopy eyes across their stores, billboards, social media pages, and website recently, a marketing move that is getting them in trouble. A recent lawsuit filed by street artist David Anasagasti, aka AholSniffsGlue, in New York federal court claims that the company used his imagery without permission.
Anasagasti is trying to preserve his public image as an artist and not a corporate sell out. “Given that he hails from the counter-culture world of underground street artists, Mr. Anasagasti's reputation as an artist has been founded, in part, on a public perception that (he) doesn’t ‘sell out’ to large corporate interests,” the lawsuit said.
American Eagle eventually registered the copyrights after they launched their advertising campaign, but Anasagasti is suing them for unspecified damage and profits from the copyright infringements.
According to the artist's agent, the eye illustrations stand in contrast to everything a big corporation like American Eagle represents. “They represent the working class, who struggle and are good people,” he told Reuters. "They may look a little droopy, a little sad, but it's his way of saying, 'You may be down today, but you've got to keep going.'"
This is not the first time a company has used an artist's work without permission, nor will it be the last. Last year DKNY used street photographer Brandon Stanton's images on a storefront in without his permission. Stanton, who is the artist behind the blog Humans of New York, was paid $25,000 in damages.