Artist accuses Target of violating copyright law

Many New York artists assume that only musicians have a need to obtain a copyright for artistic works. However, artists of all mediums may benefit from protecting their creations, including photographers, designers and visual artists. Those in that last category in particular may not always think about how copyright law might help them, but it can. A young teen artist and his family recently filed a civil claim against retail giant Target, accusing the company of stealing one of his designs and using it in one of their kids apparel lines.

The plaintiffs say that the retail giant used the artwork of an autistic teen artist without permission. The artist has social media sites where he displays his work to his numerous followers. He and his family claim that Target used one of his designs featured in a collection of 15 works called "Circle Happiness."The freehand pattern of dots the artist created allegedly appears in Target's kids apparel line Cat & Jack, which was released in 2016.

The teen's mother filed a suit alleging copyright infringement on his behalf. They say that Target reached out to the artist in 2018, though it is not clear what that communication was about. Target says it does not have a public comment on the suit, but say that the company respects the rights of designers. 

If courts determine that Target violated copyright law regarding this artist's work, the retail giant could have to pay him monetary damages. Artists of all kinds here in New York can learn from this case just how important it is to protect their rights under copyright law. Those who have questions about what copyright law can do for them may want to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

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