As Starbucks gradually claims cheaper real estate in NYC neighborhoods previously free of its corporate storefronts, the coffee monolith is apparently snatching up even freer artwork to accompany its signature drinks. A Brooklyn-based designer claims that Starbucks has used her artwork in their newest “mini-frappuccino” promotion, and is taking the corporation to court by suing for “$750,000 in copyright penalties plus unspecified cash damages,” reports the New York Post.
Maya Hayuk’s work has appeared in various corporate campaigns, so when Starbucks came knocking on her door via an outside ad-agency last October, she wasn’t surprised at all. A representative from the 72andSunny, which provides consultation for Starbucks’ advertising, told Hayuk “we love your work,” says the Post.
Flattered as she was, Hayuk was too busy and declined to participate in the project. Starbucks had other plans though, and has been hawking Hayuk’s multi-colored designs on their plastic cups, in what the artist says is a “strikingly similar” vein, reports the Post.
Her suit, which alleges “Starbucks brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar to one or more of Hayuk’s copyrighted works,” calls the corporation out for appropriating Hayuk’s only source of livelihood. “Her only source of income is her art,” Hayuk’s lawyer told the post.
The suit waged by Hayuk isn’t the only battle involving large-scale food and beverage providers currently flaring in New York City. Whole Foods is currently under investigation by the City of New York for allegedly overcharging customers in various city stores.
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[H/T New York Post]