The letter stems from the cover of Bieber's new album Justice, which is scheduled to release tomorrow, March 19th. Fans of Justice and their record label, Ed Banger Records, pointed out similarities between the "t" in Justice's logo and the "t" in the typeface of Bieber's Justice cover. Many fans believed that the pop star and the iconic French production tandem were collaborating on new music, according to Justice’s co-manager Tyler Goldberg.
“The morning Bieber announced his album, it was pretty tough to miss,” Goldberg told Rolling Stone. “Aside from seeing it all over the internet ourselves, we heard from hundreds of people throughout the day — industry people, Justice fans — and the Justice guys received a ton of messages, not only compelled to point out the similarities between the Justice Justin Bieber album, but confused. ‘Is this a Justice collaboration?'”
In late February 2020, Ed Banger poked fun at Bieber for his album cover, writing in an Instagram post that the label was appointing him as its "Art Director." "Ed Banger records appoints Mr Justin Drew Bieber as Art Director," the post reads. "We would like to thank Mr So Me for all his work since 2003."
However, after Bieber's team failed to amend the graphic and decided to move forward with the album's promotion, which included the release of merchandise, the situation has become litigious.
According to Rolling Stone, a March 10th letter from Justice’s legal team to Bieber’s lawyer and management called for Bieber to halt his use of "Justice" jointly with the cross from Justice's logo, a "Mark" that the duo trademarked in France and the European Union.
“Your use of the Mark is illegal," the cease-and-desist letter reads. "You have not received permission from Justice to utilize the Mark. Moreover, Bieber’s work is in no way affiliated with, supported by, or sponsored by Justice. Such use of the Mark is not only illegal, but likely to deceive and confuse consumers."
According to the letter, Bieber’s team had contacted Justice’s management via email to inquire about the graphic designer who developed their logo. However, after the designer expressed interest in working with Bieber in a subsequent email, Justice’s management alleges that Bieber’s team failed to communicate further.
“Basically, the trail went cold. There was attempts to set up the introduction, and it never happened,” Justice co-manager John Scholz told Rolling Stone. “Given that we have received emails from them where a member of [Bieber’s] management team specifically attached the Justice logo and asked to connect with the Justice logo designer; they mentioned it was to work on a Justin Bieber project, they did not give us any details about it, no mention of an album called ‘Justice’ or a logo using the word ‘Justice.'”
At the time of this article's publication, Bieber nor a member of his team have responded publicly. Justice’s management, however, has claimed that the singer's attorneys did "reject" the cease-and-desist letter on the grounds that his usage did not infringe on the duo’s trademark.