A Federal Judge recently granted a temporary restraining order against rappers, Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Sheyaa “21 Savage” Bin Abraham-Joseph.
While promoting their joint album, “Her Loss,” the rapper duo released a mock Vogue cover on social media starring the pair. In the caption of the post, they announced themselves as the magazine’s monthly cover stars and suggested that famed Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, gave them her coveted stamp of approval by thanking her for her “love and support on this historic moment.”
In response, Vogue filed a $4 million trademark infringement lawsuit against the recording artists, alleging the imitation magazine cover was an unauthorized use of the company’s registered marks. Vogue insists the faux collaboration crossed the line of clever marketing into trademark infringement. Several news outlets and fans interpreted the publicity stunt as a fact.
In accordance with the Lanham Act relating to trademarks, the judge granted the temporary restraining order after 1) finding that the publisher has proven a likelihood of success, 2) the order is necessary to protect the public from confusion or deception and 3) to protect Vogue from immediate irreparable injury. Specifically, the order stated there was sufficient proof presented that the hip-hop stars used the magazine’s registered trademarks and the likeness of Wintour without authorization to promote their album.
The order temporarily sets a wide ban against the duo, largely rendering them unable to use, display, and distribute promotion materials for their album as it relates to the allegedly infringing marks. Such promotion materials include the post at issue, other social media posts on any websites or accounts under the duo’s ownership, control, or direction, and even public displays of the print posters and counterfeit magazines that have been plastered across the U.S.
After this victory for Vogue, a hearing has been set for the defendants to show cause as to why a preliminary injunction and an extension of the temporary restraining order should not be granted. Thus, it remains to be seen whether the ultimate loss will be on behalf of the famous rap duo.