Published Apr 22, 2010Punk rock lifers the Vandals have got themselves in some hot water with Variety magazine, which has resulted in a lawsuit against the Orange County, CA band. But the part that has the band a bit confused is that the lawsuit is based on a logo they no longer use.
The lawsuit pertains to the band's last studio album, 2004's Hollywood Potato Chip. On the cover of that album, the band used a parody of the Variety logo for their band logo. After the release of the record, the Vandals received a cease-and-desist over the logo, agreed to it, and switched the image on the cover. But now they're being sued for images that are on the Internet that were not put up by the band, reports Techdirt.
In a posting on the Vandals' website from April 13, the band had this to say:
We are considering legal action against the Daily Variety to lift the permanent injunction against us using the original logo for Hollywood Potato Chip because after reading the public filing against us by the Daily Variety it is clear they are abusing this injunction to shake us down for money, and by filing against us when there are no prohibited images on any sites under our control, they have breached the settlement agreement between us. We did not agree to be responsible for 3rd party distributors of this product. That was clear in the settlement agreement.
In a previous posting, the band had said that the magazine told them the images were still on the Internet but wouldn't tell them where they were, and that they were asking for a "huge, outrageous, and impossible to raise" amount of money from the group.
The Wrap asked Henry Horbaczewski, counsel for Variety owner Reed Elsevier, about the case and he had this to say, via email:
"The stylized Variety mark is a very well known and valuable trademark which the Vandals misused. We sued them, and they accepted a settlement agreement in which they promised to stop misusing our mark, because we wanted to stop the misuse, not their money. They then ignored their agreement."
But the Vandals aren't dummies - Horbaczewski himself unwittingly proved the guys know what they're doing when he added this:
"[Vandals drummer Joe] Escalante is a lawyer. He should have known the consequences of his actions."
The band are asking that all of their Variety parody logos get taken off the Internet immediately; if you see one, email [email protected] so he can take action. (As an added bonus, anyone who finds one will get two tickets for an upcoming Vandals show being planned as a benefit to raise money for this case.) An example of the logo, and what the band used to replace it, is up now at Techdirt here (and should get taken down soon to help the guys out!).
Public records of the case are available here.