April 15, 2015

It is Settled: You Can’t Don A Henley and Take It Easy

by Guest Blogger

If you didn't laugh, I'm not going to explain it to you because it will make me feel old (or at least out of touch).

In a New York Minute, Don Henley sued Duluth Trading Company for using his name to sell their t-shirts. The Heart of The Matter was that Mr. Henley has two trademark registrations in his name for "entertainment services" and "musical sound recordings" and Duluth used the advertisement below to sell its shirts:


According to Mr. Henley's complaint against Duluth, "Mr. Henley is a professional musician and a founding member, drummer, and singer of the Eagles, which is one of the most successful American musical groups." Apparently, "Every album that the Eagles has released since 1972 has been certified platinum" and "the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album is the best-selling album of all time in the United States with sales in excess of 29 million units." Man he was Working It.

Everything is Different Now because Duluth has publicly apologized on its website. Sometimes, though, Love Just Ain't Enough and so Duluth also made an undisclosed donation to the Walden Woods Project in restitution because Mr. Henley is a Man With a Mission.

Some of you may have noticed something about this post, and are asking why I can use these peculiar phrases, but Duluth got in trouble with its advertising. It is a good question, that not Everybody Knows. It's not an Inside Job, the difference between Them & Us is that according to the Copyright Office, song titles are simply not subject to copyright. Where Duluth got in trouble was using Don Henley's name (that is a trademark) to sell shirts. So there you go, You Won't Get Fooled Again.

Well, Well, Well. I hope you don't get the impression from reading this that I dislike Mr. Henley or that I am in any way affiliated with him, because if you do You Don't Know Me at All. I am a fan (and I'm pretty sure I own that Greatest Hits album â even if I don't know where any of my CDs are anymore), and I do agree that Duluth crossed the line. It was a clever ad campaign, but that just isn't a great defense against trademark infringement.

Duluth does have some other clever trademark campaigns:


http://www.duluthtrading.com/s... was super-bummed that apparently Mr. Henley doesn't have any official videos up on YouTube or Vevo. Just in case your soft rock Internet radio station is having fits, try this audio-only link:

P.S. Did you catch which one of those titles was not related to Don Henley? What The Who?

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