31 July 2017

Van Morrison sued by former wrestler over mohawk album image

A retired professional wrestler has sued singer-songwriter Van Morrison for image rights violations over a photograph used on his new album.

Canadian Billy Two Rivers, who competed in wrestling events across the globe before retiring in 1977, filed the complaint at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, July 27.

He accused the musician and his record label Universal Music of using a black-and-white image of him competing on the front cover of the upcoming “Roll With the Punches” album without permission.

“By misappropriating plaintiff’s image and likeness, defendants have not only traded on plaintiff’s earned goodwill, but are also depriving the defendant of the ability to control his reputation,” the complaint stated.

The album is due to be released in September and its cover features an image of two wrestlers, one of whom is Two Rivers, who has his signature mohawk haircut.

The official Van Morrison website also sells a range of merchandise for the album.

According to the complaint, the defendants are engaged in a “widespread campaign to market, promote, distribute, and sell the album and unauthorised products”.

Two Rivers is now seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction against sales of the upcoming album, damages and attorneys’ fees for the “harm caused from the infringement”.

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