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Gaga and Beiber vs. Bluewater

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Bluewater Productions

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Much has been written on other blogs about the cease and desist that Bluewater Productions was sent on behalf of Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber.  The legal bomb was sent over Bluewater’s recent publications over unauthorized biographies about the two mega-stars.  The objection was over the use of the two stars’ likenesses.

Not shockingly Bluewater disagrees issuing the following statement.

These are not-poster books and as it was explained to the licensing lawyer, Kenneth Feinswog, it tells the story of [Bieber’s] life in 22 pages. We offered to send him a copy of the book before it went to print. We have been offered deals with poster books, sticker books and we had to turn them down because we know we do not have the rights to that. But doing an unauthorized biography we are in full within our rights… It feels like they are doing this because our comic book got the same amount of press as their book, ‘Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever.’ Both are being released the same month, as well as four other Bieber books. We chose [to publish a book about] Justin Bieber because of how he is changing the music industry. This was a kid that posted his songs on YouTube to share with his family and became a superstar from that. This is a great story to inspire kids.
Bluewater is standing behind the 1st Amendment, and while we find a lot of the comics we’ve read of theirs to be throwaways without much depth, they are correct.  They correctly point out that licensing attorney Kenneth Feinswog has a history of this, attacking similar comics published in the 1980’s.  The judge ruled in the publisher’s favor during those suits.

The First Amendment may trump any claim that the plaintiffs have for trademark infringement.

Universal Music Group is claiming it’s just protecting the rights of it’s clients.  A quick search on Amazon finds numerous unauthorized biographies of the two stars.  These types of books are numerous and common.  So why is Feinswog up in arms over two comic books?

What we see here is sour grapes by a lawyer who’s grasping at straws in a world where it’s becoming more difficult to sell music and instead merchandising is a driving force behind certain stars and celebrity and every merchandising deal matters.  Two comic books that have sold well are a direct threat to Feinswog’s ability to get top dollar over merchandising deals.  If a lawsuit threat hangs over “unauthorized” material, companies will have to factor in lawyer fees now to decide if producing a product is financially justifiable.  This allows Feinswog to get the highest dollar possible for the likeness of his two clients.

It’s likely the judge will rule in favor of Bluewater since precedence exists, but how much in legal fees will have to be spent by the company, who now has to figure out if further publications about the two stars are financially worth it.

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