27 November 2018Copyright

NBA player ‘Scary Terry’ hit with ‘Scream’ mask IP suit

The mask featured in horror film series “Scream” is at the centre of a copyright and trademark lawsuit filed against National Basketball Association (NBA) player Terry Rozier.

Easter Unlimited, doing business as Fun World, filed its complaint (pdf) at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday, November 20.

Costume company Fun World produces products for occasions such as Halloween, Easter and Christmas, and it owns copyright and trademark registrations in the US for many of its designs.

One of Fun World’s protected products is the Ghost Face Mask, which was licensed for use in “Scream” in 1996.

“As a result of the Scream movies, plaintiff’s Ghost Face Mask has become widely famous and remains a popular Halloween costume mask,” Fun World said.
The costume company owns two copyright registrations for the mask (VA 983,747 and VA 552,798).

‘Ghost Face’, in block letters, is registered as a trademark (number 4,035,972), and Fun World also owns a design mark for ‘Ghost Face’ (4,256,208).

However, Fun World said that basketball player Rozier—who plays for NBA team Boston Celtics—has adopted the famous mask as his own “mascot”.

Fun World claimed that Rozier improperly and illegally copied and reproduced the mark, in violation of its IP rights.

According to recent reports by the  Boston Globe, Rozier has loved “Scream” since he was a child and he has a tattoo of the famous mask on his arm.

Earlier this year, the  Boston Globe reported that the nickname Scary Terry—which is the name of a character on adult cartoon series “Rick and Morty”—was attributed to Rozier by Coley Mick, a sports podcaster.

Mick, who was not named as a defendant in the suit, reportedly shared the nickname with Rozier last November, and the NBA player proceeded to develop and sell merchandise based around his alter ego.

Fun World claimed that Rozier has paired the famous mask design with his alter ego, Scary Terry, and produced merchandise featuring depictions of the Ghost Face Mask to promote his nickname.

Rozier’s management representative, Verus Team Management, allegedly published an article advertising the merchandise in March this year. Rozier has also shared pictures of himself wearing the merchandise, which includes t-shirts and sweatshirts, on social media.

The costume company added that Rozier authorised ten retailers to sell the infringing merchandise, including Redbubble, Barstool Sports, and The Boston Sports Co.

Rozier has “received a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringements”, Fun World claimed, as his use of the Scary Terry alter ego in combination with the Ghost Face Mask has led to an increase in merchandise sales.

Fun World asked the court to award statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each instance of direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement.

For the alleged trademark infringement, the costume company is seeking up to $1 million for each mark counterfeited by Rozier, as well as triple the amount of Rozier’s profits and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Finally, Fun World has requested that a permanent injunction be ordered against Rozier.

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