Bob Marley’s Family Wins Multimillion Dollar Court Case Against Image Bootleggers

Bob Marley’s family won another victory in their multimillion dollar court case against image bootleggers just yesterday. Court documents released yesterday, February 20, 2015, confirm that they were successful in achieving justice in what is hopefully the final case in a series of legal battles fought over the issue of illegal branding of Bob Marley’s image since 2008.

As described by the Hollywood Reporter, Marley’s children founded Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, a corporation that controls Bob Marley’s likeness for licensing and sales purposes. In 2008, Fifty-Six Hope Road Music sued A.V.E.L.A. and others for using Marley photographs in merchandise sold to Target, Walmart and other retailers.

They were victorious in court in 2011, and were granted more than 2,000,000 compensation for the unauthorized use of bootleg images on merchandise sold to several major retailers as ‘authentic’ Bob Marley merchandise. The case was then held up in appeal for several years.

Yesterday’s court victory upheld the 2011 ruling for the Marley family and Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, and paves an important road to justice for other superstars entangled in trademark infringement battles about the use of their own personal ‘look’ in the wide arena of advertising.

This court case is likely to become a landmark case. Yesterday’s judicial decision will affect the outcome of future court cases about image bootlegging and copyright control for stars who are so well known that their own personal likeness is deemed valuable property.

Judge Randy Smith comments:

This case presents a question that is familiar in our circuit. When does the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitute false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act?

The Lanham Act is a 1946 law designed to protect against trademark infringement and false advertising.

This justice decision in support of Bob Marley’s family comes near the end of a month filled with commemorative events celebrating what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday. People around the world held special events in celebration of the life of the late, great poet, singer, and political activist.

Just three days before this court victory, the new commemorative album Easy Skanking in Boston ’78 (2015) was released for sale. The album is available via cd, dvd, and blue ray and includes rare footage filmed by a concert fan, and other audio and video clips never before released by the Marley family. The inclusion of the fan filmed rare footage is a fine tribute to the relationship Marley had with his fans and this court victory is a long overdue resolution of justice for the Marley family.

[ Image via Inquisitr.]