Director Spike Lee is being sued for alleged copyright infringement over posters used to promote his 2013 movie, Oldboy.
Los Angeles graphic artist Juan Luis Garcia claims he was not paid for uncredited designs featured on the marketing materials, according to legal papers obtained yesterday.
Garcia, who says he also designed posters for The Great Gatsby, Lincoln, 12 Years a Slave and Jobs, alleges that his rights have been abused by Lee’s production company, Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks.
The lawsuit states that Garcia offered “access to the posters and offered Defendants the opportunity to use them to market their film, with the condition precedent that they pay Plaintiff for such use. Defendents never paid Plaintiff.”
Garcia had written an open letter to Lee, claiming he had worked on the project for two months but declined an advertising agency’s extremely low offer for his designs. He told Lee that the agency had theatre legal action when he complained about later unauthorised use.
Oldboy 2013 movie posters
Lee responded angrily on Twitter, claiming to have “never heard of this guy” and criticising his “cheap trick”.
Fans took to Lee’s Instagram page to ask the US director to assist Garcia, with one man writing: “Dude, pay the graphic artist”.
Lee was clearly irritated, replying: “Why should I pay someone who I never met nor had any contact with ever? He never made any deal with me.”
I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It's Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) November 28, 2013
Lee’s remake of South Korean thriller Oldboy starred Samuel L Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen and Josh Brolin. The film was a box office disaster.
The damages sought by Garcia are unspecified.