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Federal Judge Denies Live Nation's 'John Doe' Merch Restraining Order Request

Federal Judge Denies Live Nation’s ‘John Doe’ Merch Restraining Order Request

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LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Live Nation filed a lawsuit seeking ex parte restraining orders against up to 200 John & Jane Does accused of selling bootleg merch at Fleetwood Mac concerts. The restraining order would allow for the immediate seizure of the contraband material.

According to the complaint by Live Nation, a small but dedicated group of counterfeiters follow bands such as Fleetwood Mac from show to show to “sell and distribute unauthorized infringing T-shirts, jerseys, caps and/or other
merchandise bearing any or all of the Group’s Trademarks.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of California, has become a common practice for Live Nation and other major licensed merch vendors around high profile concerts and sporting events in a bid to combat bootleg merch vendors who set up shop around the event.

The temporary restraining orders are typically very narrow in scope, often encompassing just a few days around a particular concert, allowing the plaintiff, Live Nation in this case, to serve a copy of the temporary restraining order to the offenders ‘in situ’ and seize the unlicensed merch.

While these requests are usually approved by the court, United States District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel wasn’t having any part of it.

The judge ruled that Live Nation Merchandise had failed to demonstrate clear standing in the case and instead relied on ” numerous instances of bootlegging of other popular musical groups where courts have granted TRO applications with unknown defendants. However, those instances demonstrate a history of bootlegging in the music concert industry but does not satisfy the injury-in-fact for purposes of Plaintiff’s standing to sue. ”

Curiel went on to note that by “failing to identify or attempting to identify any bootleggers on this concert tour that have engaged in selling counterfeit merchandise, Plaintiff has not demonstrated it has suffered or will suffer any injury.”

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