For a few years now, we’ve covered the rather insane lawsuit filed by Daily Variety (owned by Reed Elsevier) against the band, The Vandals because of an old version of an album cover that parodies Daily Variety’s logo. Years ago, when the band originally planned this album, it was threatened by Variety and changed the logo to the one at the bottom:
I still don’t fully understand why they agreed to change the logo, since they had a strong argument, but who wants to fight in court if you can avoid it? Either way, years later, versions of the original album cover appeared in various places online — but not on the Vandals’ own site. Variety still blamed them for this and sued the band. The band’s bassist, Joe Escalante, who was an entertainment lawyer — but not a litigator — actually handled the case entirely on his own. He got himself admitted to practice law in Delaware, where the case was filed, and convinced the court there to transfer the case to LA where it belonged.
Now, just as the actual trial was set to begin, Escalante is saying that Variety has agreed to drop the case in a “settlement” that doesn’t involve the band paying anything. The Hollywood Reporter has been following the story, and seems to enjoy tweaking its main competitor Variety. Escalante seems relieved that the whole ordeal is over:
“This was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, and to the band, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Escalante, who represented The Vandals himself. “However, as my wife says, the crash course in federal court litigation made me a better lawyer.”
For what it’s worth, Escalante recently had me on his radio show, where we got to talk about SOPA, copyright and a variety of other issues concerning how IP laws can be abused — things that Escalante has taken a much deeper interest in lately.
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