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Mercedes sues in dispute with artists over Detroit murals

DETROIT — Mercedes-Benz USA is asking a judge to protect it from legal action over its use of images of murals in Detroit in social media posts.

The company says four artists threatened to file a lawsuit after their works appeared last year in Instagram posts about the G 500 Series truck. Mercedes-Benz removed the posts, although it insists it didn’t infringe on copyrights and was entitled to fair use of the murals.

The company accused the artists of engaging in an “aggressive shakedown.”

James Lewis tells the Detroit Free Press that Mercedes-Benz “defamed” his mural by posting it slightly out of focus. He says it’s a “sacred piece” honoring African women.

A judge heard arguments Monday on the artists’ request to dismiss the lawsuits. There has been no decision.

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