Cash Sues Popular Clothing Retailer

Johnny Cash and photographer Jim Marshall filed a joint lawsuit against Urban Outfitters in a San Francisco court on April 24, reports Rolling Stone. The suit revolves around the famous photo of Cash flipping off a TV crew at his 1969 concert at San Quentin State Prison. Urban Outfitters has been selling a T-shirt that features the photo with a supplemental slogan, “American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God.” The country legend is charging misappropriation of right of publicity for the use of his image. Marshall, who snapped the black-and-white photo, is charging the clothing retailer with copyright infringement. Cash and Marshall seek statutory damages, defendant’s profits, attorney’s fees and punitive damages. The image of Cash sneering and holding up his middle finger has been the subject of debate before. In 1998, the Man in Black and his record company used the photo for a full-page ad in the music industry trade publication Billboard to make a point. Celebrating his Grammy win for Unchained with tongue-in-cheek flair, the ad copy read “American Recordings and Johnny Cash would like to acknowledge the Nashville Music establishment and country radio for your support.”