Artist Emmalene Blake sues restaurant chain for reproducing mural on cafe walls


Acclaimed artist Emmalene Blake is suing restaurant chain Bel Cibo for copyright infringement in a court case on Friday.

Bel Cibo, part of the Egan Hospitality group, commissioned Ms Blake in June 2018 to design and paint two murals on the walls of her cafe on Aston Quay, Dublin, and to provide designs to be used on mugs coffee, loyalty cards and other materials.

Ms Blake later discovered that the company had copied and printed the three designs on the walls of its cafes in Greenogue and Citywest in Dublin, without her knowledge, which she claims is a breach of their agreement.

She is suing Arena Hospitality Ltd, the Egan Group company that owns Bel Cibo, for copyright infringement in a case the Dublin Circuit Court is due to hear on Friday.

Bel Cibo hired Ms Blake because of her reputation as a street artist, gained for paintings of murder victims Lyra McKee and George Floyd, and for addressing themes such as LGBTQ rights and climate change.

According to a civil bill outlining her case, Ms Blake has always told Arena Hospitality that she does not want her work printed on cafe walls.


“Despite this, Plaintiff’s artistic works were copied, adapted and reproduced by Defendant by printing them, without permission, and in violation of the parties’ agreement and in violation of the license granted by Plaintiff to Defendant”, indicates the document. .

It adds that the defendant violated its copyright by copying and adapting a protected work and making it available to the public by reproducing it on the walls of the two cafes.

The Citywest and Greenogue reproductions were much larger than the 0.3m² that the Aston Quay paintings covered, altering their structure and composition, says Ms Blake.

Invoices for his work at Aston Quay and on licensed designs for coffee mugs and other materials stated that “Copyright of supplied artwork remains with the artist”.

In its defence, Arena Hospitality states that it “at all times acquired absolute ownership and title to the graphic designs subject to the proceeding for use in its business.”

Arena denies that Ms. Blake owns the copyright to the designs or that she has entered into an agreement with her on the terms she describes.

The company denies infringing Ms Blake’s copyright and that the graphic designs are copyrighted works as she claims.

The company also denies altering the structure and composition of his work when it reproduced it in Citywest and Greenogue. However, he maintains that he has the right to modify or adapt Ms. Blake’s acquired work.

Ms Blake will outline the damages she is seeking at Friday’s hearing, the documents show.


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