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Marley family wins case over legend's image

Published:Monday | February 23, 2015 | 2:19 PM
Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s estate has won a court case against a clothing company accused of using the reggae star’s image on T-shirts without permission.

Following many years of battling with the firm, the family of the late Jamaican musician won an appeal against A.V.E.L.A. and other merchandisers who unlawfully used his image.

Marley’s heirs, known as Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, control the ownership of the reggae star’s likeness.

They previously sued A.V.E.L.A. in 2008 for using photographs of the singer on merchandise sold at US retailers such as Target and Walmart.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, A.V.E.L.A. argued that consumers would always associate a deceased celebrity’s image with that of his or her estate, but a judge ruled that plaintiffs only succeed if they show more than mere association.

An appeals court in the state of Nevada decided that there was sufficient evidence that those purchasing the product were confused about who was endorsing the T-shirts featuring Marley’s image.

In order to settle the dispute, plaintiffs conducted a survey of more than 500 individuals at shopping centres to ask who they thought gave permission or approval for the particular T-shirt to be made or put out.

A total of 37 per cent of those questioned said they believed the T-shirts were official, Marley-family sanctioned merchandise.