Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Special Report: Danzig sues Only over rights to "Fiend Skull" logo

Like a bolt of lightning this news has hit just about every metal and rock website on the web. So I figured I'd toss in my two cents as a long time Misfits/Danzig fan.

   Let's get to the lawsuit right off the bat. Danzig filed a complaint about Only's alleged misappropriation of the "Fiend Skull Logo" aka the iconic Crimson Ghost logo. A logo that was part of an agreement back in 1994 between Danzig and the members of the Misfits band. If any Misfit member(former or current) were to use the logo, the other members needed a heads up. Basically approval would be needed to use the logo on merch and that the license was not owned by one single entity. Cut to 2000, when Jerry Only(aka Gerald Caiafa) allegedly claimed ownership of the logo through trademark infringement and set up a deal for himself with merchandisers.

Screen Capture of actual complaint
"Caiafa has prevented and continues to prevent other retailers, including Hot Topic, which is the largest retailer of the MISFITS products, from entering into licenses with Danzig and/or his designee to merchandise products bearing the Fiend Skull and other Marks by falsely instructing the merchandisers that he is the exclusive owner of the Marks, and that, if they enter into a license agreement with Danzig to exploit the Marks, they must pay Caiafa a license fee and/or a significant monetary penalty....Caiafa has purposefully led merchandisers, including Hot Topic, to believe that they are legally bound not to accept licenses to exploit the Marks from Danzig or his designees, and Caiafa continues to do so."

    From the quote above, Hot Topic the largest merchandiser of items with the Fiend Skull logo were pressured to only sell exclusively Jerry Only approved items. If any of the members approached merchandisers and said merchandisers sold products with the logo or likeness they would be penalized with a licensing fee to Only. Yes, this is confusing and I wonder if Danzig does have enough evidence to fight this case. If an agreement between merchandisers and Only was put in writing I believe Jerry is going to owe Danzig and the other members of the band a whole lotta loot.

Still from upcoming Danzig TV special
   Given all the merch the Misfits have sold with the Fiend Skull logo and wordmark there definitely has to be a paper trail that can back up these allegations. Danzig is currently working on a TV Special that will highlight the various eras of his career. One can only speculate that Danzig may have wanted to put out a throwback line of his own merchandise that may have included the Fiend Skull logo.

   To add to the drama of the complaint, Danzig threw a haymaker with this direct quote about Only's importance and lineage when it came to forming the band.

"After forming the band, Danzig replaced the original bass player with Caiafa, whose primary qualification was that he had recently received a bass guitar for Christmas."

This is yet another chapter of mud slinging between members of an iconic band that have a huge economic stake in merchandise sales. Outside of KISS, the Misfits logo is the most recognizable logo on the planet when it comes to band branding. If there was any truth to Doyle(Jerry's brother and former Misfits bandmate) efforts to get the original members back together, the latest events should put up really big obstacles to that happening in the future. We'll keep you posted as this plays out.
- grownman

see this link for Official Statement from the Misfits
Excerpt from Official Statement -
"Jerry Only and Cyclopian are under no obligation, legal, contractual or otherwise, to obtain consent, or approvals of any kind, from former member Glenn Danzig in connection with their use of the Misfits name or logos. Apparently Danzig’s own product line doesn’t sell as well as he might like, but the fact of the matter remains that Jerry Only and Cyclopian Music’s Misfits licenses, business activity and merchandising endeavors are 100% lawful and consistent with their legal rights."

No comments:

Post a Comment