Billboard reports that the surviving members of influential hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. have launched a lawsuit against online retailers Walmart, Amazon, and Jet, as well as a number of clothing production companies, for allegedly being illin’ in the form of selling merchandise marketed with the band’s name and branding without its consent. The $50 million suit claims that retailers have been selling items featuring the band’s logo, as well as Run-D.M.C.-inspired items—like the band’s distinctive square-framed glasses and fedoras—that use the group’s name in their marketing.
A quick search of Amazon and Jet (which is owned by Walmart) brings up a number of items matching the suit’s description, including T-shirts and glasses that all use the band’s name in their descriptions. It’s tricky to tell which, if any, of these items—sold by third-parties via the online retailers—are officially licensed, which certainly gives some credence to the lawsuit’s claim that they “confuse the public as to the source of origin and endorsement of its products.”
The lawsuit comes a month after Amazon made a public effort to crack down on chicanery in its marketplace, suing sellers for offering counterfeit versions of trademarked goods.
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