It all started with an advertisement by H&M for the new New Routine clothing line.

In the background of an image there was a graffiti of the street artist Jason Revok William, actually part of a mural located in the Sheridan Playground, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

 H&M VS Jason Revok Williams and the problem of street art  The Swedish company apologized and waived the lawsuit against the writer | Image 0

This did not please the writer who, last January 8th, through his lawyer, asked the Swedish company to remove the campaign, claiming that it included the work of art without having the consent or having informed the man .

Instead of seeking a peaceful solution, the low-cost chain responded by bringing the matter to court.

This is where things get complicated because it raises an old question: defining what is or is not art.

According to US law, the graffiti that appears on the walls is part of the "works of vandalism", more or less the same position of H & M that claims that Williams graffiti is not subject to copyright as unlawfully carried out.

More specifically, the accusation states:

"Given the circumstances in which the 'works of art' claimed by the client are the product of a criminal conduct, Mr. Williams has no copyright rights to assert. The right to copyright protection is a privilege of federal law that does not extend to illegally created works."

 H&M VS Jason Revok Williams and the problem of street art  The Swedish company apologized and waived the lawsuit against the writer | Image 0
 H&M VS Jason Revok Williams and the problem of street art  The Swedish company apologized and waived the lawsuit against the writer | Image 1
 H&M VS Jason Revok Williams and the problem of street art  The Swedish company apologized and waived the lawsuit against the writer | Image 2
 H&M VS Jason Revok Williams and the problem of street art  The Swedish company apologized and waived the lawsuit against the writer | Image 3

With little hope of getting justice in court, Revok found great support on the net. In fact, there are many social media posts in which fans and colleagues have expressed solidarity with the street-artist with the hashtag #fuckH&M, which someone wrote in large letters on the window of several US stores.

“Those who say graffiti isn’t art are out of touch or misunderstand the art form and movement itself” - says Roger Gastman, curator and artist of street art – “Brands need to understand that not everything can be taken for corporate use and gain. Respect the artists. Work together with the artists instead of taking their original ideas".

Yesterday evening, H&M announced via Twitter that it had abandoned the case against Jason William stating "we would have to act differently in our approach to this matter".

Right, but one question remains: how can a company that should believe in "accessible fashion for all" do not respect everyone rights, including street artists?