- - Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marley half brother sued over use of name, photos

A feud has erupted within the first family of reggae, with the widow and nine children of Bob Marley suing his half brother to stop using the Marley name to promote an annual Miami music festival and profit from other businesses in his native Jamaica.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court contends the half brother, businessman Richard Booker, and several affiliated companies are violating copyright and trademark laws by using Marley’s name, photographs, lyrics, symbols and other intellectual property without authorization.

The lawsuit says people could be deceived into thinking those uses are officially endorsed by Marley’s widow, Rita Marley, and their children. Mr. Booker and Bob Marley shared the same mother.

The entities include the Bob Marley Movement of Jah People Inc., which promotes the music festival, a restaurant in Jamaica called Mama Marley’s and several businesses with the name Nine Mile - the part of Jamaica where Marley grew up and is buried. One Nine Mile business offers a tour of the area, and the music event is known as the Nine Mile Music Festival.

In addition, a recent press release about the music festival included this headline: “All for the Love of Bob Marley.” The 19th annual festival is scheduled for March on Virginia Key, near Miami. Three of Marley’s children - Stephen, Damien and Julian Marley - are scheduled to perform.

Marley, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died of cancer in 1981 at age 36.

The lawsuit, filed by Fort Lauderdale attorney Bruce Hermelee, seeks unspecified damages and also asks a judge to stop Mr. Booker and the companies from using any Marley-related references in the various ventures. Mr. Hermelee represents Mrs. Marley and the children through a Bahamas-based entity called Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd.

The lawsuit says Mrs. Marley and her children have long opposed Mr. Booker’s attempts to trademark Marley-related business names and that at one point they reached a licensing deal but Mr. Booker reneged on the deal.

Amy Winehouse’s father meets kids helped by donation

Amy Winehouse’s father said meeting the first children to be helped by the foundation set up in his late daughter’s name has been both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation was launched officially 10 weeks ago to support vulnerable youth and has pledged to donate $780,000 in its first year, according to the Associated Press.

The singer’s parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse, visited Little Havens Children’s Hospice in Thundersley, east of London, on Wednesday to meet children benefitting from a $15,600 donation.

Mr. Winehouse said “it was heartbreaking, actually. … I’m starting to well up now, but heartwarming at the same time.”

A British coroner ruled that the singer, known for her beehive hairdo and hits including “Rehab,” died in July of alcohol poisoning.

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