Company marketing heavy metal band's merchandise asks federal court to order crack down on bootleggers

By John Breslin | May 21, 2018

A company granted the exclusive rights to market merchandise for heavy metal band Slayer moved to combat bootleggers by filing of a federal suit ahead of the first concert of the band's final tour.

Francis from Groningen/Netherlands/Wikimedia

A company granted the exclusive rights to market merchandise for heavy metal band Slayer moved to combat bootleggers by filing of a federal suit ahead of the first concert of the band's final tour.

Global Merchandising Services asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California to order local law enforcement to crack down on the bootleggers selling merchandise outside San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center on May 10. Slayer, formed in 1981, announced this will be their last tour of 2018, with dates in North American and Europe.

Global Merchandising filed the complaint for trademark infringement and unfair competition against various unnamed defendants described in the complaint as "numerous independent unlicensed peddlers and manufacturing and distributing companies."

The suit asked the court to order U.S. marshals and state, county and/or local law enforcement "to seize and impound any and all of the merchandise."

The defendants were, according to the complaint, going "to sell or hold for sale outside of and within the confines of the concert halls at which Slayer is performing before, during or after Slayer concert performances."

The suit said Global Merchandising has the exclusive right to market Slayer merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, photographs and posters.

"To date, more than $25 million worth of licensed merchandise bearing the Slayer name, trademark, logos and/or likenesses have been sold," the complaint noted.

Global Merchandising claimed the "unlawful activity results in irreparable harm and injury to plaintiff."

The actions of the bootleggers "deprives plaintiff and Slayer of their absolute right to determine the manner in which Slayer's image is presented to the general public through merchandising," the court filing said.

The filing went on to say such action "deceives the public as to the origin and sponsorship of such merchandise; wrongfully trades upon and cashes in on plaintiff’s and Slayer's reputations, commercial value and exclusive rights in the Slayer trademark; and it irreparably harms and injures Slayer's and plaintiff’s reputations."

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