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Rush Ask Judge to Help Stamp Out Bootleg Merchandise

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The members of Rush may choose free will, but they expect to get paid fair market value for their concert souvenirs. The Canadian progressive rockers have asked a judge in Pittsburgh to direct federal marshals to help crack down on unlicensed merchandise at their upcoming concerts.

A lawsuit filed by Ontario-based Showtech Merchandising Inc. asks U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone to make a legal finding that will apply to all of the upcoming dates of Rush’s North American tour, which runs through December. The complaint claims that Rush experiencse significant financial loss from “independent unlicensed peddlers” and “nomadic individuals without business premises” who follow the group around on tour and sell inferior quality bootleg merchandise emblazoned with the band’s logo and likenesses. The suit asks the judge to direct federal marshals to seize the unlicensed merchandise.

New Jersey-based attorney Jules Zalon authored the brief. He tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he has successfully gotten similar results on behalf of between 200-300 other entertainment acts. “These days bands make more money from merchandise than from concert tickets,” he notes, adding that’s why it’s important for bands to control the market.

Zalon says the the main thing he’s seeking is a deterrent. “If the bootleggers know that there are injunctions around, then they’re less likely to follow the tour,” he states. “It’s amazing that with the stroke of a pen, the judge can prevent bootlegging from happening.” Rush are slated to perform in Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Center on Sept. 11.

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