A key part of Mr Bingo’s identity, and one of the main messages of his talks, is that he doesn’t allow his work to be used by, or associated with, brands.
In October 2018, Mr Bingo discovered that a bag brand was using an artwork from his Hate Mail project as the basis for a poster and flyer that was being distributed in Shoreditch. Mr Bingo’s artwork was clearly the basis for the flyer as, while the brand had added elements to the artwork, they had left on the distinctive Mr Bingo tag:
Following a review of this matter, we presented a number of options to Mr Bingo. Yes, this looked like a case of blatant copyright infringement, so legal action was an option. However, this can be expensive and protracted and there’s no guarantee of a successful outcome. On this occasion, we advised against sending a cease and desist letter initially and devised a more creative approach.
Mr Bingo was able to harness the power of his social media reach by calling out the infringement on Instagram. In response, the brand contacted him. We provided guidance to Mr Bingo on the ideal response to the brand (a firm tone, informing that advice had been sought but being reasonable).
The brand recognised that it had infringed Mr Bingo’s rights and agreed, in return for the removal of the social media posts, not to repeat the infringement and to make a payment to him for the infringement.
This is an example of where calling out an infringement on social media and making direct (albeit guided) contact with an infringing brand had a successful outcome. In the words of Mr Bingo himself:
“I’m very happy with this simple solution as it’s now resolved without any messy business. BIG THANKS again to both of you for your help on this, I would have never reached this point without you”.
This approach will not always be appropriate and legal advice should be sought beforehand so that you understand the strength of any claim of copyright infringement.