San Francisco demands help investigating Justin Bieber graffiti

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco's city attorney is demanding that Justin Bieber's music publisher help determine who is responsible for sidewalk graffiti promoting the pop star's latest album.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera was neither impressed nor amused to see the pop star's "Purpose" album drop date spray painted on city sidewalks. He plans to take legal action against Def Jam and Universal Music Group, reports CBS San Francisco.

Herrera sent a letter to Universal Music Group on Monday, saying the graffiti appears to have been applied with spray paint that has not come off even after recent rainstorms.

"This prohibited marketing practice illegally exploits our City's walkable neighborhoods," wrote Herrera, reports CBS SF. He added that such acts "irresponsibly communicate to young people that likeminded lawlessness and contempt for public property are condoned and encouraged by its beneficiaries -- including Mr. Bieber and the record labels that produce and promote him."

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Singer Justin Bieber (L) performs onstage during the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

That contrasts with other recent sidewalk marketing campaigns that have used chalk, according to Herrera.

Herrera said public works crews have removed some of the graffiti at great expense, although he did not provide a figure. The city attorney's office released photographs of eight instances of the graffiti and asked for Universal's help in determining its full scope.

Emails seeking comment from representatives of Universal Music Group were not immediately returned.

The graffiti promoting Bieber's new album, "Purpose," has been found in Haight-Ashbury and other neighborhoods. City officials have received complaints about it, Herrera said.

Herrera's office previously went after a 2010 marketing campaign that glued decals of fake $25,000 bills to city sidewalks to promote an online game. An advertising agency agreed to pay the city a $45,000 penalty for the decals.