A Bob Marley fan is suing the estate of the late reggae superstar, as well as music and clothing companies run by his family, for copyright infringement, ironically involving images of Marley.
Massachusetts artist Jurek Zamoyski, who grew up in Communist Poland loving Marley for his songs of freedom and justice for the oppressed, claims Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd, Bob Marley Music and Zion Rootswear are making unauthorized use of three of his copyright portraits of Marley – “Rasta Dreads”, “Lion Zion” (pictured left, together with t-shirt inset) and “Kaya Man” – on T-shirts and other items being sold worldwide.
Zamoyski, who has also done designs for the Grateful Dead, maintains his works were licensed for use through his licensing firm, Jurek International Graphics, in the mid-1990s, but authorization was revoked when the company folded in 1999. However, the Marley companies have continued to use the designs, Zamoyski says, even though he hasn’t earned royalties from them since 1999.
Apparel bearing his designs continues to be available on the Zion Rootswear website.
Under copyright law, the subject of a painting (Marley) does not normally own any copyright – only the artist (Zamoyski) does.