Jerry Garcia’s estate is suing an Atlanta burrito chain, claiming Moe’s Southwest Grill never acquired licensing rights for the use of the late Grateful Dead singer’s image.

To Dead Heads, the move might seem ironic, given the Grateful Dead’s past stance on intellectual property — the band welcomed bootleg taping of concerts and turned a blind eye to parking lot sales of unlicensed band merchandise. However, whereas the band’s fans simply sought to share musical experiences and pay for concert tickets, Moe’s Southwest Grill seeks to profit from Garcia’s image and likeness.

When a business uses a person’s name or likeness, the firm needs to have permission from that person — or their estate. In addition to having the person sign a release, the business may need to pay a licensing fee or offer other moneys. If the firm doesn’t obtain a release, it runs the risk of being sued for misappropriating personality — and having to pay damages.
action. Since Moe’s Southwest Grill uses names, portraits, and quotes from late entertainers, the burrito chain may soon face suits from the estates of other singers.

Vancouver Marketing Blog: (c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. www.Andrea