Nirvana Sued For Using Illustration From Translation Of Dante’s “Inferno” On Band Merchandise

A lawsuit has been filed against Nirvana due to the use of an illustration from a translation of Dante’s “Inferno” on various pieces of merchandise. Jocelyn Susan Bundy, the granddaughter of artist C.W. Scott-Giles, filed the suit against Nirvana LLC, Live Nation Merchandise LLC and its Merch Traffic LLC unit, and Silva Artist Management LLC.

According to the lawsuit, the drawing in question has been used since 1997 on pieces of merchandise that were sold in stores such as Walmart, H&M and Hot Topic. Here’s what was said in the complaint [via Blabbermouth]:

“On or about January 20, 2021, Plaintiff discovered that Defendants NIRVANA and Live Nation Merchandise are (and have been) licensing, promoting, selling, manufacturing, and distributing vinyl records, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, key fobs, mugs, patches, buttons, and other merchandise items depicting an image virtually identical to the Illustration both in the U.S. and abroad.

On or about March 11, 2021, Plaintiff discovered that, sometime after February 13, 2021, Defendant Merch Traffic also started promoting, licensing, selling, and distributing Infringing Products in the U.S. and abroad.”

“Further research revealed that some of the unauthorized uses of the Illustration on NIRVANA-branded merchandise date as far back as 1989. Further research also revealed that over the years, the band NIRVANA and parties acting on its behalf have routinely made false claims of ownership of the copyright in the Illustration by placing false copyright notices on the Infringing Products in substantially this form ‘© [Year] Nirvana’.

Finally, in documents filed in two other copyright actions before this Court, Defendant NIRVANA has implied that Kurt Cobain created the Illustration or, in the alternative, that the Illustration is in the public domain in the United States, and that, therefore, NIRVANA and its licensees are free to use it without authorization or compensation. NIRVANA and some of the other Defendants have maintained this position in their responses to Plaintiff’s continuing requests to cease their wrongful conduct in the U.S. and abroad.”

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