Drake and 21 Savage Sued by Condé Nast Over Fake Vogue Cover

Drake and 21 Savage Sued by Condé Nast Over Fake Vogue Cover

Condé Nast is taking Drake and 21 Savage to court for using a phony Vogue cover to promote their new album Her Loss.

The publisher accuses the artists of trademark infringement for rolling out a “deliberately deceptive” campaign “built entirely on the use of the VOGUE marks,” according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in New York federal court. “That Defendants would knowingly violate Condé Nast’s rights in this manner underscores the tremendous value that a cover feature in Vogue magazine carries to amplify sales of an album that was to be released days after Defendants commenced their deceptive campaign,” reads the complaint. “This of course was Defendants’ aim.”

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The cover was among several spoofs that circulated leading up to the album release. The duo also forged bogus appearances on NPR‘s Tiny Desk series and The Howard Stern Show. Those media corporations took the parodies in jest but Condé Nast says the artists are exploiting the value of being tapped to grace its cover without actually attaining the honor.

To promote the album, the duo created a counterfeit issue of Vogue magazine and distributed free copies. The issue was a complete reproduction of the October issue with some adaptions, including a photoshopped image of Drake with a young Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Drake posted the cover of himself on the magazine to his Instagram. The post reads: “Me and my brother on newsstands tomorrow!! Thanks @voguemagazine and Anna Wintour for the love and support on this historic moment.”

Condé Nast stresses that “confusion among the public is unmistakable.” It points to several media outlets that mistakenly reported that the artists landed the cover of the magazine.

Lawyers for the publisher claim that the artists have refused demands for them to stop circulating the fake issue, accusing them of continuing to “exploit the VOGUE Mark (and Anna Wintour’s name and image) to drive up sales of the Album.” They say they’re entitled to triple defendants’ profits from the sales of the album and the counterfeit magazine or damages of up to $4 million. They also seek a court order forcing the duo to take down images of the fake cover on their websites and social media.

Representatives for Drake and 21 Savage didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. They may argue that they were legally clear to create the phony covers because the spoof was intended to parody promotional collaborations between artists and media.