JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville freelance artist is alleging that Shein stole her designs. Now she is seeking more than $100 million in damages for copyright infringement.
Shein is a China-based online retailer that grew popular within the last few years for selling accessible and affordable fashion and lifestyle items.
News4JAX news partner Jacksonville Daily Record said the complaint filed Wednesday includes a certificate of registration from the U.S Copyright office for Magdalena Mollman’s artwork.
COURT DOCUMENT: View the 22-page complaint
In the complaint, Magdalena Mollman, professionally known as Maggie Stephenson, alleges the China-based online retailer took her artwork from her Instagram without her permission and started selling copies.
The Jax Daily Record reported that Mollman allows her authorized retailers to sell her artwork for between $19 to $300. However, Shein is not listed as an authorized seller for Mollman.
Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Elle Magazine, and Harper Collins Publishing are authorized users to sell her work.
The lawsuit alleges “Defendants copied the original, copyright-protected elements of Plaintiff’s Original Artwork without Plaintiff’s authorization and created therefrom one or more art prints, copies of which Defendants then advertised, marketed and sold on the SHEIN Website under the description ‘Abstract Pattern Wall Painting Without Frame,’” the Jax Daily Record reported.
If you search for the description “Abstract Pattern Wall Painting Without Frame” on the retailors website, no items will show matching that name.
The complaint goes on to allege how the company took her copyright-protected work on her Instagram from 2019 to 2021 and sold them for as little as $4 per print.
Mollman wants the court to permanently prohibit Shein from copying or using her copyright-protected work in any way and requests to be awarded $25,000 for each violation, according to the Jax Daily Record.
News4JAX reached out to Mollman for a comment, but she referred us to her law firm, which provided us a statement.
“This is just one of many similar stories that we have heard of creatives having their artwork and designs stolen by fast fashion brands. The financial impact on small brands, designers and artists is significant and we’re proud of our client for standing up for what is right,” said Danielle Garno, a partner with Holland & Knight.