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SUPREME COURT: YES, YOU NEED PERMISSION TO SELL T-SHIRTS FEATURING BOB MARLEY’S FACE

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By Mary Beth Quirk from consumerist.com

(mdemon)

When it comes to famous faces, not just anyone can cash in and use those well-known likenesses for their own financial gain. That’s why the highest court in the land has turned down an appeal from clothing companies that wanted to peddle T-shirts bearing the image of reggae legend Bob Marley. The Supremes let stand a lower court ruling that said merchandisers hadn’t gotten approval from Marley’s children to sell clothing at Walmart, Target and other stores, reports the Associated Press.

The musician’s heirs control the rights to his image through a company called Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, and sued competitor A.V.E.L.A. and others in 2008, saying the companies had violated federal trademark law with the Marley products.

A federal court ordered the defendants to pay more than $1 million in profits and damages, and a federal appeals court agreed. Shoppers would be confused about who endorsed the merchandise, the court found.

And don’t even try to market a line of marijuana using Marley’s name – the family also has plans for branded weed”_ in states where it’s legal, of course.

Supreme Court won’t hear appeal over use of Bob Marley’s image [Associated Press]

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