A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx more than $600,000 on Feb. 10 for misappropriation of his name and likeness.
NEW YORK -- A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx more than $600,000 on Feb. 10 for misappropriation of his name and likeness.
The suit stems from photographs taken of Sixx with skateboard champ Tony Trujillo, which later appeared in advertisements for Vans' TNT skate shoes.
Sixx claimed that a representative from Thrasher magazine approached him in the fall of 2002, asking him to appear at the magazine's skater of the year award presentation that December. Although Sixx was initially resistant to the request, the Thrasher representative was "extremely persistent," according to court documents. She told Sixx that Trujillo, the honoree, was an extremely dedicated fan of Sixx and Mötley Crüe.
Sixx eventually agreed to make the appearance -- thinking it would be a cool thing to do for one of his big fans -- for $2,500, plus travel and hotel accommodations and a full-page ad in Thrasher, valued at $6,571, for one of Sixx's projects.
However, he never gave permission to use his name or likeness for advertising purposes, say his lawyers Caroline Mankey and Louis "Skip" Miller with Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro in Los Angeles.
Subsequently Vans, which promotes its brand through product placement with key artists in the music industry, used photographs of Sixx and Trujillo in ads placed in eight widely distributed national magazines, in stores and on a Web site, according to court papers.
The jurors unanimously held Vans liable for violating Sixx's right of publicity under California law-state statutory law and common law created by past court decisions-and his right to prevent others from exploiting his identity under federal false endorsement law (the Lanham Act).
Vans was slammed with a verdict that may amount to more than $1 million: $600,000 in damages to compensate Sixx, interest on that amount totaling about $100,000, plus Sixx's attorneys' and expert witness' fees that may amount to another $400,000 when all the bills are tallied, his attorneys say.