Run-DMC, one of the most iconic acts in hip-hop history, is suing Amazon, Walmart, and Walmart-owned Jet.com for alleged copyright infringement
The complaint, filed in the U.S. Southern District Court of New York, claims the retailers are selling products that illegally sport the group’s brand or logo. Run-DMC is seeking $50 million in damages plus attorney fees.
The group accuses Amazon and Walmart of “advertising, manufacturing, selling and distributing multiple products with the RUN-DMC trademark without the permission of RUN-DMC.”
Run-DMC is asking the court to immediately ban the retailers from promoting or receiving payments for any products that uses the group’s brand without permission.
The complaint identifies several manufacturers of the products in question, including Vision and Infinity. Run-DMC says the retailers are culpable for selling the products and in Amazon’s case taking a greater stake.
“Defendant Amazon sells and advertises many of the products directly or fulfills the orders for the infringing products for Vison and Infinity,” the complaint says. “Amazon, Vision and Infinity split the proceeds from the selling of various products that directly infringe on the Plaintiff’s trademark and/or trades on the goodwill of Plaintiff’s trademark.”
It’s not the first time a seller has sued Amazon for its role in violating intellectual property. In 2015, a judge sided with Amazon after a seller sued the company for selling a counterfeit novelty pillowcase, but said he was troubled by the law that led to the decision in Amazon’s favor.
Amazon has more recently been trying to crack down on sellers who use the site to hawk knockoffs. In November, the Seattle e-commerce giant filed two lawsuits against sellers of allegedly counterfeit goods. The lawsuits are believed to be a first for Amazon.
GeekWire has contacted Amazon and Walmart for comment on the Run-DMC suit.
View the Run-DMC complaint below.