A judge has ordered Drake and 21 Savage to stop using a fake Vogue cover to promote their new collaborative album, Your loss.
In a crash on Wednesday, November 10 (obtained by billboard), the judge agreed Vogue publisher Condé Nast, issuing a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the two rappers. The judge found that Condé Nast owned “valid and uncontested” trademarks for Vogue and its logo and that Drake, 21 Savage and the communications firm Hiltzik Strategies “created and disseminated” counterfeit images of a Vogue cover, as well as a reproduction of the entire issue, without authorization from the magazine.
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“Condé Nast has a likelihood of success on its claims for federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, false approval, dilution, [and] false advertising”, says the sentence. The judge also called Drake and 21 fake Vogue was “misleading consumers as to the origin, sponsorship or endorsement” of the magazine, “misleading consumers to believe that these are genuine and authentic materials associated with Condé Nast and Vogue.”
An attorney for Drake and 21 Savage did not immediately return calls Rolling StoneHiltzik Strategies’ request for comment. A lawyer for Condé Nast also did not immediately return a request for comment.
Drake and 21 Savage have been on a tear promoting their collaborative album Your loss with a series of stunts. The duo pretended to Saturday Night Live performance and acted in what appeared to be a gold bar for a fake promotion of Colors x Studios. His initial promotion, however, a Ph.D Vogue cover — led to a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the magazine’s owner, Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., also known as Condé Nast.
In the lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, Condé Nast called the duo’s promotional stunt a “deceptive campaign” that was not authorized by the company. The fake Vogue association included posters and distribution of “a falsified number of Vogue” in the big cities of North America.
The lawsuit accuses the rappers of deliberately mimicking the releases the magazine uses in its own promotional campaigns to appear authentic, adding that the rappers’ social media accounts contained “explicitly false statements: ‘Me and my brother on newsstands tomorrow! Thanks to @voguemagazine and Anna Wintour for the love and support at this historic moment. Your loss November 4.”
However, according to the complaint, Vogue and its editor-in-chief Wintour “had no involvement whatsoever Your loss or its promotion, and have not endorsed it in any way. Nor did Condé Nast authorize, much less support, the creation and widespread dissemination of a counterfeit issue of Vogueor a counterfeit version of perhaps one of the most carefully selected covers in the entire publishing business in service of promoting the defendants’ new album.”
“Confusion among the public is unmistakable,” the complaint further states, citing multiple media outlets that picked up the story as real and subsequent comments from users believing it was a real cover.
At the time the suit was filed, Larry Stein, an attorney for the defendants, declined Rolling Stonerequest for comment on Tuesday without yet reviewing the complaint. Hiltzik Strategies LLC, also named as a defendant in the suit alongside Drake and 21 Savage, declined Rolling Stonerequest for comment from.
Condé Nast is asking for a minimum of $4 million in damages. Additionally, it seeks punitive damages in addition to an end to any trademark infringement.
This story was updated 11/10/22 at 12:58 PM ET with the judge’s ruling.
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