As first reported by the Daily Swarm, bands Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up have filed a class action lawsuit against RJ Reynolds and Wenner Media, alleging the unauthorized use of artists' names, unauthorized use of artist names for commercial advantage (right of publicity), and unfair business practices.
The suit stems from an multiple page ad called 'Indie Rock Universe' that appeared in the 40th Anniversary issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The foldout ad featured cartoonish drawings of a mock "universe" populated by indie rock bands, big and small, with an ad for Camel cigarettes on the flip side.
According to documents shared with Billboard, the suit accuses both the cigarette company and the magazine of engaging in "despicable conduct" that was "illegal under settled, unambiguous California statutory and common law."
A similar complaint was filed two weeks ago by by eight Attorneys General against R.J. Reynolds. They allege that the 'Indie Rock Universe' promotion violated the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between 46 states and tobacco manufacturers.