Muralist Cameron Moberg has plenty of public art around Bayview and Visitacion Valley, but he’s filed a lawsuit after the art allegedly turned up in a city-sponsored ad campaign without his permission.
We can all get behind the idea of the City of San Francisco buying PG&E’s power grid and operating it themselves. But we may not be behind the method of promoting this idea by swiping the copyrighted work of a local artist. And accomplished SF mural artist Cameron Moberg says that’s exactly what happened with his work, as the Chronicle reports that Moberg has just sued the city for using his mural in their ad without permission.
The mural in question is seen above, a vibrant “Visitacion Valley” mural, which is at 198 Leland Street on the side of a business called G&L Bakery. Moberg’s murals can also be seen in the Bayview; Monterey County; Downtown Los Angeles; Panama City, Florida; and even in rural Indiana.
But Moberg is none too pleased that his mural is also seen in the above billboard. The ad is for Our.City.Our Power., a city-led ad campaign to sway sentiment toward public ownership of the SF power grid. Bloomberg Law has the full text of the lawsuit, whose exhibits show the mural was used in ads on billboards, as well as at Muni bus shelters, as seen below.
The lawsuit says Moberg has registered the mural with the U.S. Copyright Office. Further, it states that Moberg’s attorneys sent the city a cease-and-desist letter on September 21, 2023, demanding they stop using the images, and the city did not. “The City has failed to meaningfully respond, necessitating this action,” of a lawsuit, the filing states.
Moberg is seeking as much as $150,000 for each instance of his copyrighted mural being used in ads, plus attorneys fees.
It’s unclear whether the ads in question are still in circulation. The Chronicle reached out to City Attorney David Chiu’s office, who said they hadn’t been served the lawsuit yet. “Once we are served with the lawsuit, we will review the complaint and respond in court,” a spokesperson for Chiu’s office told the Chronicle.
Image: Giddyup Pup via Facebook