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Los Angeles steps up war against pirate ‘supergraphic’ posters

The city of Los Angeles is suing Beverley Hills poster company SkyTag for ‘millions of dollars’ in the latest round of its battle to rid the city of huge ‘supergraphic’ posters which it claims are both dangerous (to office inhabitants and drivers) and illegal.

LA recently won a court case and $1.4m against poster giant CBS Outdoor over six errant supergraphics.

SkyTag boss Michael McNeilly, who has been battling the LA authorities for years, says his company “went by the book.” The trouble is, with all these cases, that both parties are using different books.

Poster contractors all over the world put up their posters before planning negotiations are concluded one way or the other, arguing (to themselves mostly) that if they waited the damn things would never be displayed. And the advertisers would spend their money elsewhere.

But often the poster companies just slap the things up there knowing that by the time their knuckles are rapped by the authorities the campaign will be over (and they’ll have been paid for it anyway). Supergraphics or giant posters or whatever you want to call them are usually used in very short campaigns anyway as they’re so expensive.

LA seems to be taking this traditional dance to a new level by suing for hefty damages.

A cynic might argue that LA is really an outdoor billboard surrounded by a city (the billboard in question being the famous Hollywood sign overlooking SkyTag’s home territory of Beverley Hills).

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But the result of this case will be watched nervously by many outdoor companies in case it ramps up the financial pressure on them as they follow the traditional route of ‘post and be damned.’

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