Mercedes sues in dispute with artists


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

The company said 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 told the Detroit Free Press that Mercedes-Benz "defamed" his mural by posting it slightly out of focus. He said it's a "sacred piece" honoring African women.

Detroit federal Judge Avern Cohn rejected this month a request by the artists to dismiss three lawsuits by Mercedes-Benz.

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