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Condé Nast filed a complaint against Drake and 21 Savage

Not everyone appreciated the launch campaign for the "Her Loss" album

Condé Nast filed a complaint against Drake and 21 Savage Not everyone appreciated the launch campaign for the Her Loss album

The campaign for Drake and 21 Savage's new album, Her Loss, has been somewhere between a successful prank and a big scam: a fake teaser of their appearance at NPR's Tiny Desk Concert, a fake live show at SNL, a fake Vogue US cover. But among the various fake initiatives that have inevitably sparked social media excitement, the posters hung all over New York City depicting the duo's face have upset Condé Nast to such an extent that the publishing giant that owns Vogue has filed a complaint for using the magazine's name as part of a 'widespread promotional campaign'. According to the complaint filed on Monday in a federal court in the Big Apple, Drake and 21 Savage allegedly promoted their album through a campaign «built entirely on the use of the VOGUE trademarks and the premise that Drake and 21 Savage would appear on the cover of the next issue of Vogue». Condé Nast further alleges that the duo went «so far as to create a counterfeit issue of the magazine - distributing copies in the largest metropolitan areas of North America, posting posters of the counterfeit cover along the streets and buildings of these cities, and disseminating unauthorized images to the more than 135 million social media users who actively follow them and to countless other people who viewed the fake posts».

According to The Fashion Law, in specifically highlighting «the allegedly explicitly misleading statements made by the defendants via Instagram, Condé Nast appears to be proactively trying to eliminate any argument that Drake's and 21 Savage's attorneys might make in the wake of Rogers v. Grimaldi, in which the Second Circuit held that the unauthorized use of a trademark in an expressive work does not violate the Lanham Act unless it has no artistic relevance to the underlying work or if it does have some artistic relevance unless the title explicitly misleads as to the source or content of the work.» The group also pointed out that Vogue's Wikipedia page was updated to list Drake and 21 Savage as the stars of the December 2022 cover, and cites several comments on social media as evidence of the confusion and «widespread belief that the counterfeit issue and cover distributed by the defendants were real.»

Although Condé Nast claims to have attempted to "amicably resolve the matter" with Drake and 21 Savage as early as 31 October to "limit further public confusion" before the release of their album on 4 November, it seems the rappers deliberately ignored the requests. The publisher is therefore seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief preventing the defendants from continuing to use "the VOGUE mark, or any mark that is confusingly similar to, or is a derivation or colorful imitation of, the VOGUE mark, for commercial purposes, including, without limitation, the advertising, marketing or promotion of the Her Loss album". The group also requested Drake and 21 Savage to "surrender for destruction all physical copies of all products, labels, signs, prints, wrappers, containers or advertisements depicting the counterfeit magazine and/or the counterfeit cover", as well as monetary damages, the amount of which is unknown at this time.