Sylvan Esso Sues Ticketfly Claiming Improper Use of Their Image

Sylvan Esso
Katie Darby/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Sylvan Esso performs during Music MidTown 2018 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta on Sept. 16, 2018. =

Indie pop duo Sylvan Esso is suing ticketing company Ticketfly for allegedly using their image on promotional material without the band’s permission. According to a complaint filed by lawyers for the band, Ticketfly has been using an image of Sylvan Esso on stage in advertising since at least May of 2016 without consent.

The complaint accuses the ticketer and its parent company Eventbrite of false endorsement and unfair or deceptive trade practices for using marketing materials that depict a shadowed version of the duo even after Sylvan Esso requested the ticketing compnay take the ad down. The ad features a blurred image of Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn hunched over his keyboard with bandmate Amelia Meath on the far left corner of the image -- a stage set up the complaint says is “clearly recognizable to fans.”

According to the lawsuit, the band went through unspecified unofficial channels to ask the middle-market ticketer to cease the use of their image that was displayed on the Ticketfly website, the Ticketfly app, on purchase receipts for tickets purchased through the company and on social media and online advertisements.

The band was “particularly frustrated” by the unauthorized use of its image due to negative publicity surrounding Ticketfly in 2018. In May 2018, the ticket service suffered a severe data breach that exposed roughly 26 million customers' information.

Sylvan Esso’s lawsuit suggests that Ticketfly’s use of the band’s image has caused an unwanted association in the minds of consumers with the ticketing company “whose reputation and image were tarnished by ... the data breach and its aftermath and the Eventbrite shareholder lawsuit.”

“By letter dated October 19, 2018, [Sylvan Esso]’s counsel sent a letter informing Eventbrite’s General Counsel Samantha Harnett that [Ticketfly] had been using the Band’s image and Concert Persona to market, advertise and promote the services of [Ticketfly] without authorization from [Sylvan Esso],” the complaint reads. The band’s attorney sent a letter that “demanded that [Ticketfly] immediately cease and desist from reproducing, distributing, displaying and otherwise exploiting the Image for commercial purposes.” Eventbrite never responded.  

The band’s counsel further reached out to Eventbrite’s associate general counsel Linsey Morrison in April and were allegedly directed to an online procedure to take down infringing material placed on Eventbrite typically by clients and creators that use the site, but not the ticketer itself.

According to the complaint, Eventbrite has “failed and refused to respond to [Sylvan Esso’s] demands, and, upon information and belief, they continue to publish and display the Ad and Image to promote, advertise and market [Ticketfly’s] services without [the band’s] consent.”

Billboard reached out to representatives from Eventbrite, who declined to comment on the case.

The lawsuit is requesting Ticketfly cease any use of the band’s image and is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.


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