Guns N’ Roses Merchandising Company Files Suit Over Bootleg T-Shirts
Big bands are big business, even for those not associated with said band. But the merchandise company Global Merchandising, who handles Guns N' Roses merchandising, has taken legal steps to help thwart bootleg T-shirts being sold on the band's current tour.
Global Merchandising filed a complaint in New Jersey three days ahead of the group's Aug. 5 show at MetLife Stadium, pointing out trademark infringement and unfair competition against defendants described as "parties who are selling unlicensed and infringing merchandise bearing the trademark, likenesses and logos of the musical group known as Guns N' Roses." The suit called out the bootleg merchandisers for utilizing the band's name, logos, likenesses, trademarks and artwork without their permission or promise of payment of royalties.
According to Bloomberg, Kenneth Feinswog, a lawyer for Global Merchandising Services Ltd., said in the court filing: "During the past 35 years of tremendous commercial growth of popular music, the public has not only purchased millions of records and concert tickets for entertainment but has further sought to identify themselves with and declare allegiance to their favorite performers by purchasing various articles of merchandise, t-shirts, patches, posters, photographs, jerseys, caps, belt buckles, jackets and other items that embody the names, photos, likenesses, logos, trademarks and/or artwork of such performers. Unquestionably, the aforementioned public statement of identification and allegiance to the performers and the souvenir value of the aforesaid merchandise is the reason why fans will pay more than $35.00 for a T-shirt displaying the performer's name or likeness which t-shirt might otherwise retail (without such name or likeness) for $4.00."
He continued, "Concurrently with the growth of the legitimate merchandising business, an illegal multi-million dollar industry has developed in the United States involving the unlawful manufacture, sale and distribution of 'bootleg' merchandise bearing the names, trademarks, trade names, likenesses or artwork relating to popular entertainers."
He later continued, "To add insult to injury, the merchandise that the bootleggers manufacture and sell is, in most instances, of inferior quality and not only violates Plaintiffs' rights but adversely affects the general public and irreparably injures the performers' reputations for excellence and integrity in the pursuit of their professional careers. The glut of bootleg merchandise on the market deprives the artists, whose names, likenesses, symbols, logos and designs appear on the illicit infringing merchandise, of the earnings and credit that they (the artists) deserve from the investment of their capital and their creative energies into the development of their careers."
“These bootleggers are, plainly and simply, parasites who wrongfully profit from the tremendous energies and reputations of performers,” added Global Merchandising Services lawyer Kenneth Feinswog.
Global Merchandising previously handled merchandise for the start of Slayer's Farewell tour and also pursued a similar legal action ahead of the beginning of the run. And there have been similar lawsuits taken by other entities to protect merchandising rights for Ozzfest and AC/DC tours in the past.