LED ZEPPELIN Members File Lawsuit To Stop Sales Of Concert Memorabilia And Merchandise

Members of LED ZEPPELIN are among the musicians who are taking a music memorabilia web site owner to court, claiming he is illegally selling vintage recordings and memorabilia.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California against William Sagan, who operates a web site, WolfgangsVault.com, through which he is allegedly promoting and selling these materials in violation of federal and state laws.

Sagan acquired the memorabilia when he purchased certain assets of the late legendary concert promoter Bill Graham from Clear Channel Entertainment, which acquired Graham's concert promotion company after his death. Graham's archives contained millions of promotional items and personal memorabilia, such as vintage concert posters and t-shirts featuring the musical artists' intellectual property — their names, voices, likenesses, photographs, trademarks and copyrights — which were never authorized for sale.

Sagan has continued to expand his allegedly unlawful practices by offering reproductions of these items for sale, including "reprints" of vintage concert posters and a new line of baby clothing featuring the artists' names and protected trademarks. In addition, to increase sales of these materials, Sagan is streaming allegedly illegal recordings of live concerts performed by the artists to the public on his web site and is offering to "license" these recordings to other parties.

The artists — Grateful Dead Productions, Carlos Santana, and the members of LED ZEPPELIN and THE DOORS — are represented by Jeff Reeves and Ashlie Beringer, lawyers with the international law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

"Sagan simply doesn't have the legal rights to exploit and profit from the extraordinary success of these musicians," said Jeff Reeves, who represents the musicians. "This memorabilia was created in the first place for the purposes of promoting concerts and as gifts for fans and concert crew. Graham himself did not have the right to sell, reproduce or otherwise exploit these materials as a promoter, and neither does Sagan, who was not authorized to purchase these materials and who has absolutely no connection to the artists or their music."

"We have never given permission for our images and material to be used in this way," said Bob Weir of the GRATEFUL DEAD. "What Sagan is doing is stealing. He is stealing what is most important to us — our work, our images and our music — and is profiting from the good will of our fans."

"Bill Graham was a man of great integrity who cared very deeply about the artists he worked with as a manager and promoter," said Grammy-award winning musician Carlos Santana, one of the artists — along with his namesake band Santana — affected by William Sagan's activities on WolfgangsVault.com. "Bill was a close friend to me and the SANTANA BAND for many years, and I know that what Sagan is doing would go against everything he believed in. I am fully committed to joining with other artists to protect our work, our rights and our legacy."


Posted in: News


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).