When the brand touches the artist, sometimes sparks fly
PROBLEM: Can a clothing company boast that a known artist wears their clothes, even though it has not signed a contract with this artist? The question arose when a Polish musician Taco Hemingway wore yellow golf from the ZUO CORP + collection in the music video for the song 'Kryptowaluty'. A few weeks later, when the video beat popularity records, the company boasted on its website and social media. It caused the resentment of the boss of the Asfalt Records label, cooperating with the artist, who stated that the very fact of Taco Hemingway's wore the product from the company's collection does not entitle them to use his brand and image in advertising and suggested that the case may end up in court. The clothing company demanded to remove all the shots in which the musician appears in yellow golf from the clip, giving the label a 24-hour deadline, arguing that golf does not belong to the artist, because he was lent free of charge for a music video.
In spite of its appearance, the case is quite complicated. According to Piotr Grzelczak, legal advisor from the Wrocław CFP Legal law firm, the company cannot use the artist's image in a typically earning context, without signing a contract with him or obtaining explicit consent from him. The clothing manufacturer should therefore remove the advertisement from its social media, all the more it cannot have claims in the form of demanding to remove the frames from the music video in which the described yellow golf is located.
Maciej Trąbski, attorney at law at Gessel Attorneys at law, has a different opinion. - We must distinguish between marketing activities regulated by a contract and a situation in which the artist simply uses something. The artist dressed for video in a specific product, and then the clip was accepted by him and broadcasted. The manufacturer of yellow golf only noticed the fact of using the product, which does not give rise to any obligations on the part of the manufacturer - says Maciej Trąbski. He adds that if he were to accept the thesis put forward by the music label, it would be a threat that broadcasters of all kinds of materials would blackmail brand owners by placing products in the media without their consent and demand remuneration. By that means, brand owners would lose control over the marketing of their products.
However, the lawyer agrees that there are no grounds to remove visible clothing from the music video, unless the artist uses the product in a way that could affect the personal rights of the producer. Then the producer could indeed have a claim to remove the product in connection with the use of the brand. Otherwise, when the product is purchased, the owner can do anything he wants with it. (...)
The entire article by Jakub Styczyński available in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.