MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx has issued the following press release regarding his victory in court over the Vans shoe company for the commercial use of his likeness without his permission:
MÖTLEY CRÜE co-founder Nikki Sixx struck a goal for unfairly exploited artists everywhere when a jury found in his favor on all three counts of misappropriation of his right of publicity and false endorsement, resulting in a judgment of what could be up to $1 million against Vans, the sneaker and lifestyle company which owns a majority interest in the annual Vans Warped tour and was recently acquired by Vanity Fair.
The case was heard in Los Angeles Superior Court Central District.
With attorney's fees, expert witness costs and other expenses, the total award will approximate $1 million.
The jury found that photos of the rocker and pro skater Tony Trujillo from a San Francisco "Skater of the Year" award ceremony organized by Thrasher magazine and sponsored by Vans, were used by the company without his permission as part of a national ad campaign for Trujillo's signature shoe line.
The photo appeared in eight mainstream publications, including Revolver, Maxim, Stuff, FHM, Blender and Alternative Press with the caption, "Live Fast, Die Young," which bore a resemblance to the title of MÖTLEY CRÜE's first album, "Too Fast for Love". The image was also used for online advertising and for point-of-purchase retail displays at skate parks around the country. The lawsuit also noted Nikki has his own clothing line, "N. Sixx by Dragonfly," targeting the same youth market as Vans.
Nikki, who is set to begin a world tour with the reunited band next Thursday (Feb. 17) in Fort Lauderdale, FL, insisted, "I'm happy, not so much for myself, but for all artists who are unfairly taken advantage of by major corporations. I hope this encourages other performers to stand up to those who would exploit them without securing the necessary rights."
Sixx's attorneys Caroline Mankey and Skip Miller of the L.A. firm of Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil and Shapiro LLP, were very pleased, "This outcome will hopefully deter other large companies from trying to get away with appropriating artists' images without securing proper permission and offering compensation."
The band's just-released "Red, White & Crüe" album, featuring the rock radio hit "If I Die Tomorrow", debuted on Billboard's Top 200 last week at #6. The tour has been rated #1 in concert trade magazine Pollstar.