Drake and 21 Savage have reached a settlement with publisher Condé Nast over the use of a fake Vogue cover story to promote their collaborative album ‘Her Loss’.
According to Billboard, the agreement includes a permanent injunction preventing any further use of Condé Nast’s Vogue trademarks, as well as an undisclosed monetary payment from the two rappers.
William Bowes, general counsel at Condé Nast, said in an internal email that the New York media company was “glad to put this matter behind us”. However, he explained why the publisher had felt the need to file the suit against Drake and Savage.
“As a creative company, we of course understand our brands may from time to time be referenced in other creative works,” Bowes wrote.
“In this instance, however, it was clear to us that Drake and 21 Savage leveraged Vogue’s reputation for their own commercial purposes and, in the process, confused audiences who trust Vogue as the authoritative voice on fashion and culture.”
Bowes claimed that Condé Nast had repeatedly tried to resolve the dispute without resorting to litigation, but said it had been “left with no other option” after the pair ignored its requests to stop.
“We have a fundamental duty to protect our IP when it’s clear that it’s being used without permission for something other than serving our audience,” Bowes wrote in the internal letter announcing the settlement.
Representatives for the two artists and Condé Nast declined to comment when approached by Billboard.
The fake Vogue cover came as part of a wider spoof media campaign in support of ‘Her Loss’, which also saw Drake and Savage parody Saturday Night Live, release a fake NPR Tiny Desk performance, and create a deepfake interview with Howard Stern.
In a lawsuit filed last November, Condé Nast accused the duo of running a “deceptive campaign” that was not authorised by the publisher.
The suit referred specifically to an Instagram post by Drake in which he thanked Anna Wintour – Vogue editor and global chief content officer of Condé Nast – “for the love and support on his historic moment”.
At the time, the company’s lawyers claimed that Wintour “had no involvement in ‘Her Loss or its promotion” and had “not endorsed it in any way”.
Shortly afterwards, Condé Nast issued a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Drake and Savage to stop them using the fake Vogue cover feature.
A judge stated that the cover was likely violating the publisher’s trademarks because the artists were “misleading consumers” and “deceiving the public”. They added: “Issuance of the requested temporary restraining order is in the public interest to protect the public against confusion, deception and mistake.”
It is reported that a formal notice of the settlement has not yet been filed in the federal court overseeing the suit.
In a three-star review of Drake and 21 Savage’s joint album, NME wrote: “Despite some great beats and some heavy bars, ‘Her Loss’ is underwhelming.
“The whining misogyny laced throughout the record is a symptom of a wider issue: this album is essentially the sonic imprint of a massively bloated ego. It’s yet more evidence that Drake’s art is suffering under the strain of his obsession with churning out as much music as is physically possible.
“And while 21 doesn’t have the same problem, both halves of the duo are responsible for an album that had the potential to be a classic, and missed.”