Decision could set precedent for all unauthorised use of artist imagery.

On Friday this week, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge sided with Bob Marley‘s estate in a case involving the unauthorised use of the late reggae legend’s image on shirts. The ruling could have important repercussions for other unauthorised use of dead artists’ images, from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse.

The case began in 2008 when the Marley estate sued clothing company A.V.E.L.A for creating shirts bearing the image of Bob Marley and selling them through large retailers such as Target and Walmart. In 2011 a court ruled in favour of the Marley family and ordered A.V.E.L.A to pay $2 million in damages. The ruling spent another four years in legal limbo until yesterday’s decision backed the initial judment.

The Marley estate asked over 500 people in shopping malls if they thought an A.V.E.L.A t-shirt bearing Bob’s image or one of a random African-American with dreadlocks was approved for sale and distribution. 37 percent thought the A.V.E.L.A shirt was legit, helping the estate seal their case. [Via Rolling Stone]



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