Roxbury mural painter startled to find his work appropriated to sell beer a couple blocks away

Heineken has apparently paid somebody to paint little murals at some liquor stores in Roxbury and Dorchester that read "Roxbury Love" and "Dorchester Love," as appropriate, over large stars featuring a bottle of their product. Fine as far as it goes, but see if you can spot any similarities to the well known "Roxbury Love"/Mandela mural painted awhile back by a couple of local artists:

One of the artists, who goes by the name Deme Cinco (and who did this great Orange Line mural a few years ago at the doomed Bartlett Yard building in Roxbury), reports that, no, Heineken did not ask permission. The Roxbury rip-off is just a couple blocks away from the original work, at Warren and Clifford streets.

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    YES! Anyone can!

    By on

    Step 1: buy 6-pack of Budweiser
    Step 2: Leave in direct sunlight 1 week
    Step 3: refrigerate couple days
    Step 4: Place back in Direct sunlight, 1 more week
    Step 5: Chill and serve

    Voila! Authentic Heineken/ Stella Artois taste! Drink the savings!

    As an extra step you can get some plain white labels and write Heineken/ Stella/ Becks or any other pre-skunked , green-bottled, imported beer's name on the labels and slap them on to impress your friends/loved ones at parties.
    As an aside if you buy Heineken in The Netherlands it actually tastes good (for yellow piss beer)and comes in brown bottles, the Dutch only treat foreigners with such disdain.

    The artist is a friend of

    By on

    The artist is a friend of mine. Heineken isn't the only one that has appropriated his work. The Globe had an article earlier this year about making a park space under an overpass (not sure where) and his Mandela portrait was used in the vision of what the park would look like.

    No response from anyone when he has tried to contact them about copy right infringement.

    Has he

    By on

    thought about hiring an attorney?

    I hear

    By on

    I hear what you are saying but to me this looks like a clear rip off. This guy does amazing work throughout the city and to have his stuff taken like this is total BS on Heineken's part.

    Copyright

    By on

    Let's analyze this. First, the LAW:

    Style: You can't copyright style so the color choices and such are debatable.
    Font/ROXBURY LOVE: Is the phrase trademarked?

    All things aside, while the beer ad was influenced, it would be a hard case legally to say anything was really 'stolen'.

    But then since we are questioning Heinekin, we also have to examine the mural itself:

    Did the artists seek permission to use a photograph from a very popular photographer Yousef Karsh? Since he's passed on, did they contact his Estate? http://www.inspirewetrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ritratti-del-XX...

    Further, the artists who created the mural was paid by the City of Boston who had them likely sign a disclosure agreement that the work they create for the space does not violate any copyrights. (This is standard.) If they didn't get permission to appropriate the image, the muralists are in fact, breaking copyright law and in breach of their contract with the City of Boston - which actually puts the City in harms way for a lawsuit from the Estate of Yousef Karsh.

    Now let's talk about ETHICS:

    Heinekin ethically did a shady thing here, no doubt. But it is in the gray area of copyright enough that not much is going to be done about it.

    The muralists, if they didn't get permission to use the photo as directly as they did, did not only cross ethic lines but are infringing on a copyright themselves and also, in possible breach with the City of Boston. But that is ONLY if they do not have permission to use that likeness, were paid to do it and if the City of Boston's contract contained specific language as noted above.

    Some things to think about.