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Johnny Cash Estate Sues Wedding Venue for Using Photos With June to Promote Business

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By Ryan Naumann

Johnny Cash’s estate has slapped a wedding venue with a federal lawsuit for using photos of the late musician’s wedding to June Carter Cash to promote their business.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the John R. Cash Revocable Trust has filed suit against an Illinois business named Johnny & June’s Reception Hall and Entertainment Venue, along with the owners, Dustin Smith and Kathy Smith.

The suit accuses the business of using Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash’s name and likeness to promote their business, without permission or paying a dime.

The trust explains, “Defendants are using the name 'Johnny & June’s,' prominently-displayed images of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the Venue, and the Johnny Cash song lyrics in their online marketing.”

The Blast

The lawsuit says, “While the Trust understands the pop culture appeal of referencing Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and appreciates the Defendant’s affinity toward the Cash family, their love story, and country music, the Trust is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the names, likenesses, trademarks and other indicia of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash are not used in a manner that is likely to cause confusion or mistake in the marketplace. The Defendants’ use of the names, likenesses, and personae of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash is without permission or authorization from the Trust.”

The Blast

Cash’s trust claims the venue includes photos of Johnny and June’s wedding to promote their wedding packages. They say despite firing off cease and desists to the business, they refuse to stop using Johnny Cash’s image or name.

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The trust, who were assigned the rights to Johnny Cash’s name, trademarks and rights of publicity, claims to have used the marks regularly with licensing for a museum, interactive website, selling merchandise and even the operation of Johnny Cash’s Kitchen & Saloon, a restaurant and live music venue located adjacent to the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

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