Jul 26

Dolce & Gabbana hit back at Peter Fonda lawsuit

Italian label Dolce & Gabbana has revealed that it did seek permission to reproduce stills of Peter Fonda in ‘Easy Rider’ as the actor sues for $6 million in damages.

Easy Rider T-Shirts

T-shirts by Dolce & Gabbana bearing Peter Fonda’s image and the Easy Rider film title.

by Olivia Bergin, 25 July 2013

In the world according to label Dolce & Gabbana, the brand only found out that Hollywood actor Peter Fonda was suing the brand after news broke in the press. The 73-year-old star of the 1969 cult film Easy Rider , which he also produced, filed a complaint in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles last week over the Italian label making and selling T-shirts with his name and photo without permission. Fonda is also suing high-end retailer Nordstrom for selling the tops, which feature him in a black and white still from the film, and retailed at around $295 a piece (£192).

But it was news to the Milan Fashion Week label, who today revealed it negotiated a legal contract with Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., agent of Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., in which Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. stated to be the owner of all rights related to the images used on the Dolce & Gabbana Icon T-shirts. Fonda, brother of fellow Hollywood star Jane, claims he has “suffered injuries to his peace, happiness, feelings, goodwill, reputation, image, loss of fair market value of his services, and dilution of his current and future publicity value,” according to WWD.

Dolce+Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana claim that the use of Fonda’s image was through a contract made with Sony Pictures.

The $6 million sum (almost £4 million) he is seeking in damages accounts for punitive damages, legal fees and for Nordstrom and Dolce & Gabbana to surrender any profits they generated from the merchandise the actor claims they sold without his authorisation.  The T-shirts were part of the brand’s autumn/winter 2013 collection, and featured stills and the logo from the film. In the past, the brand has emblazoned images of celebrity figures James Dean, Jonny Depp and Debbie Harry on it’s T-shirts, but it seems Fonda isn’t so flattered by the gesture.

Free Rider

by Ava Farshidi, July 26, 2013

When you put Peter Fonda’s image on a T-shirt and sell it for $295 without his permission, he’s going to come after you. Nordstrom learned this the hard way after selling nine different T-shirt designs by Dolce & Gabbana with images of the actor from his 1969 movie “Easy Rider,” which Fonda co-wrote, produced, and starred in. Particularly for Dolce & Gabbana the lawsuit could not have come at a worse time, as the Italian fashion duo is currently dealing with charges of tax evasion that have led them to close nine of their Milan stores in protest.

Easy Rider

Easy Rider

Although Nordstrom has acknowledged that Fonda is pursuing a lawsuit against them, Dolce & Gabbana claim that they are unaware of any legal action taken against them. They claim that the use of Fonda’s image was through a contract made with Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., which they believe would make them legally compliant.

Fonda filed his complaint on July 19th in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles citing reasons such as suffering, “injuries to his peace, happiness, feelings, goodwill, reputation, image, loss of fair market value of his services, and dilution of his current and future publicity value.” It is reported that he is seeking $6 million in compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and any profits that have been made from the T-shirt sales.

It seems that this lawsuit has turned the T-shirt into a fashion faux-paux as Nordstrom has removed the T-shirt from their website. Apparently this season’s most fashionable trends thus far are tax evasion and use of likeness.

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