photo courtesy of Marieclaire.co.uk
Pop icon Ariana Grande is suing the clothing retailer Forever 21 for the non-consensual use other image and lyrics from her hit single “7 Rings” as a part of their promotional material.
On Sept. 2, Grande filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 claiming that they illegally used copyrighted materials from her “7 Rings” music video. In a series of Instagram posts, Forever 21used models who looked extremely similar to Grande, with similar wardrobe choices and her iconic slicked-back ponytail. One posts’ caption read “Gee thanks, just bought it,” which copies a line from “7 Ring’s” chorus.
Grande’s single, “7 Rings” was released in January of 2019 and was instantly a wild success, holding the number one position on the Billboard top 100 charts for eight consecutive weeks.
The song focuses on the luxuries the singer and her friends can enjoy because of their success nd the corresponding music video uses an elaborate set, props, and costumes to complement the message of the song.
Back in February 2019, after the release of Grande’s full album, “Thank You, Next”, which the single “7 Rings” was featured on, the posts in question started to appear on Forever 21’s Instagram. Grande quickly noticed the posts and immediately reached out to her lawyers.
The lawsuit claims that even though Forever 21 was contacted about the posts and agreed to take them down, the posts were not removed from their page for another two months, in late April
As the lawsuit states, “The resemblance is uncanny and Forever 21’s intent was clear: to suggest to the viewing public that Ms. Grande endorsed Forever 21, its products, and was affiliated with Forever 21.
According to the lawsuit, representatives at Forever 21 reached out to the singer after the release of her wildly popular single, “7 Rings” in January of 2019. They proposed an endorsement deal that would be centered around social media platforms, including Grande’s most frequently used platform, Instagram.
Even though the deal was considered by Grande and her team, they ultimately declined Forever 21’s offer, as they were displeased with the amount offered to the singer as compensation for the deal.
Grande’s lawsuit is accusing Forever 21 of violating her right of publicity, which involves the singer’s control of the commercial use of her name and identity. It also alleges false endorsement, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement. In total, the lawsuit is asking for $10 million in damages.
Additionally, rumors have surfaced that Forever 21 is on the brink of filing for bankruptcy. If Grande and her team win the lawsuit, it could be a significant blow to the company’s image and sales.
By Kate Ferrell | Guest Writer