Louis Vuitton is named in a new lawsuit after allegedly making unauthorized use of a song in a 2021 advertising campaign starring Chiara Ferragni. In the complaint that they filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, music publisher Discomoda U.S.A. Corp., Claudio Gamez, Julio Andres Morean Sosa, Carlos Morean De Las Casas, and Johann Morean De Las Casas (collectively “Discomoda”) claim that the French fashion brand co-opted Por Alguien Como Tu – a copyright-protected musical composition co-authored by Gamez and Morean and first recorded by their band, Los Darts, in Venezuela, in 1970 – for an advertising campaign for its “Archlight Slingbacks.”

Setting the stage in the complaint, Discomoda alleges that Louis Vuitton’s “ infringing ad campaign is approximately one minute long and consists of two primary elements: (1) a woman walking the streets of Milan in Archlight Slingbacks; and (2) the music from Por Alguien Como Tu playing throughout.” While not the exact same version as Gamez and Morean’s original song, Discomoda argues that for its version, Louis Vuitton “copied a substantial amount of music from Por Alguien Como Tu … including the melody, harmony and rhythm from the verses and choruses of Por Alguien Como Tu,” thereby, making “an unauthorized derivative work” that has infringed – and continues to infringe – its copyright in Por Alguien Como Tu. (The plaintiffs registered the song with the U.S. Copyright Office effective June 28, 2023 with registration number PA 2-418-496.)

Miami-based Discomoda continues on in the newly-filed lawsuit, claiming that “the portions of Por Alguien Como Tu copied in the [Louis Vuitton] ad campaign are not only quantitatively substantial, but [are] qualitatively important to Por Alguien Como Tu, including the rhythm, harmony and melody, all of which are copyrightable elements individually and in combination.” And it alleges that the “copycat” song in Louis Vuitton’s campaign – which has been “reproduced, publicly performed and made available” on Louis Vuitton’s website and social media channels – “is not the product of independent creation.”

Hardly an unimportant element in the campaign, Discomoda claims that “virtually all” of the comments on Louis Vuitton’s YouTube page for the Archlight Slingbacks campaign “remark on the music (Por Alguien Como Tu) in the ad campaign.”

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