Verizon rings Marley family back in big way

Just when it looked like the dispute between Bob Marley's family and Verizon Wireless was coming to an end, things got a bit nasty. The...

Just when it looked like the dispute between Bob Marley's family and Verizon Wireless was coming to an end, things got a bit nasty. The dispute is over an agreement made last month between Universal, a subsidiary of Vivendi that owns the rights to Marley's music and Verizon Wireless that would have made the wireless provider the exclusive provider of ring tones from Marley's catalog. But Marley’s family promptly objected to the deal saying it was the equivalent of a an endorsement and that it required their approval. The family threatened litigation in order to block the arrangement.

Yesterday, The New York Times reports, Verizon appeared to be removing itself from the situation and the Marley family issued a statement that it would not carry out plans to file a suit against the company for "trademark infringement because Verizon had 'ceded' to its demands and taken most of the 44 ring tones by the singer off the Verizon Wireless Web site." But in that statement the family's longtime spokesman said he was “infuriated that Verizon would go around the estate and initiate partnership with Universal” and that it was “disturbing that these companies refuse to give the musicians the respect they deserve.”

That set Verizon off and a spokesman for the company said: “We had earlier this week decided to take the content down temporarily to give the Marley estate and Universal time to work out their differences. Now, in light of that statement, we’ll be putting that content back up tomorrow.”

The family's response to that was to announce that the suit against Verizon is back on.

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