Firm to defend DEAD KENNEDYS in copyright infringement dispute
January 20, 2017 – Federal district court judge George Wu today granted the motion of DEAD KENNEDYS to intervene to defend an on-going copyright infringement action over artwork made for and used by the band dating to their seminal punk rock album In God We Trust, Inc. and single Too Drunk To Fuck, both released in 1981. Artist Winston Smith sued retailer Supreme last year, claiming the cutting-edge brand had used three copyrighted images from those recordings’ covers on apparel it manufactured and sold in 2014 without his knowledge or permission. As it turned out, the band authorized the use of those images in written agreements, and advised Smith of that fact, at around that same time. Moreover, Supreme promoted the apparel under the DEAD KENNEDYS moniker, and featured the name of the band and the titles of its biggest hits, on the apparel in question. Following earlier proceedings in which the firm convinced Judge Wu that the band was a required party to the case, the firm successfully moved to include DEAD KENNEDYS as a defendant. The band contends that it owns at least two and perhaps all three of the images in issue, which were created in collaboration with band members, and has in any event had an agreement with Smith to use the images in connection with band-related merchandise dating back 30+ years, pursuant to which the band has consistently paid Smith including on the Supreme deal. The case is currently set for trial beginning May 30th.