DKNY uses photographers artwork without permission & thinks $25 000 = $100 000

Classic. So DKNY approached photographer Brandon Stanton aka Humans of New York to use some of his photos in their in store visual program. Brandon says that they : ".... asked to purchase 300 of my photos to hang in their store windows “around the world.” They offered me $15,000. A friend in the industry told me that $50 per photo was not nearly enough to receive from a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. So I asked for more money. They said “no.”" Good for you Brandon, never underbid. However, DKNY had already set their heart on this, and there were mockups made... and well, lets blame the intern that always works. Seems the images appeared in a DKNY store in Bangkok. Stanton never said yes to this, and was never compensated for it. Putting a good spin on this twist, Stanton asks everyone to "REBLOG this post if you think that DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp..."

And reblogged it was, over sixteen thousand times already, all over the place. Soon DKNY were fending angry comments all over their facebook page and looking up the excuse to use in the excuse-o-meter™. Lets blame mockups!

Since its founding in 1989, DKNY has been inspired by and incorporated authentic New York into its imagery. For our Spring 2013 store window visuals we decided to celebrate the city that is in our name by showcasing "Only in NYC" images. We have immense respect for Brandon Stanton aka Humans of New York and approached him to work with us on this visual program. He declined to participate in the project.

For the Spring 2013 windows program, we licensed and paid for photos from established photography service providers. However, it appears that inadvertently the store in Bangkok used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton's images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program. We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved artwork is used.

DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake. Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton's name.

The responses to this DKNY post on facebook mock their stingyness, one person even asks to buy DKNY sweater for 1/4th of the price. This fire will not die out for only 25K, DKNY.

$25k is not the $100,0000 of the original offer. Can I pay your retail store $47.25 for this $189 hoodie and call it a day?

Moral of the story: don't skimp on artwork.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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