A jury has ruled that Vans Inc., maker of skateboard sneakers and part owner of the Vans Warped Tour, owes Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx at least $600,000 for using his photo without permission in an advertising campaign.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found February 9th that photos of Sixx and pro skater Tony Trujillo from a San Francisco “Skater of the Year” awards ceremony were used by Vans without Sixx’s permission as part of a national ad campaign for Trujillo’s signature shoe line.
In addition, the jury reportedly awarded Sixx interest and attorney’s fees, which could boost the amount to more than $1 million.
“I’m happy, not so much for myself, but for all artists who are unfairly taken advantage of by major corporations,” Sixx said in a statement. “I hope this encourages other performers to stand up to those who would exploit them without securing the necessary rights.”
The photos appeared in eight publications including Revolver, Maxim, Stuff, FHM, Blender and Alternative Press with the caption “Live Fast, Die Young,” which, in Sixx’s opinion, bore a resemblance to the title of the first Crüe album, Too Fast For Love.
The image was also used in online ads and point-of-purchase retail displays at skate parks around the country. The lawsuit noted that Sixx has his own clothing line, N. Sixx by Dragonfly, which targets the same youth market as Vans, the statement added.
Vans spokesman Chris Overholsen told Pollstar, “We believed that we had the rights to use [Nikki Sixx’s] photos in the manner that we did; however, the jury thought otherwise.”
The ruling was handed down a week before Mötley Crüe was set to kick off its world tour February 17th in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The jaunt is in support of the band’s recently released album, Red, White & Crüe.