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Artist Sues Blink 182 Drummer Over Tattoo

PHOENIX (CN) - A tattoo artist claims that Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker used copyrighted artwork in his clothing line. Barker's company, Famous Stars and Straps, ripped off the copyrighted "Switchblade and Skull" design after it appeared in the February 2007 issue of "Tattoo Magazine," Aaron Coleman says in his federal complaint.

Coleman dba Immaculate Tattoo says Barker uses his copyrighted art on the drummer's "Nabajas" clothing line, which started producing the items no earlier than 2008.

Coleman says he sent two cease-and-desist letters to Stars and Straps in November 2009, offering "to negotiate a reasonable license royalty" for the design. He says he is still waiting for a response.

Coleman claims that though Stars and Straps removed the infringing products from its Web site, other retailers still sell the products online and in stores.

Barker founded Famous Stars and Straps in 1999. It makes and sells clothing that is "popular with teenagers and young adults" through its Web site and in retail stores, according to the complaint.

In 2008 Barker suffered second- and third-degree burns when a Learjet 60 crashed outside Columbia, S.C. Barker and disc jockey DJ AM were the only passengers to survive; four people died.

Coleman seeks $100,000 in damages for copyright infringement, an accounting and an injunction. He is represented by Brendan Mahoney with Campbell and Mahoney.

("Nabajas" is a misspelling of the Spanish "navajas," which means knives. Many of the Nabajas designs feature knives. "B" and "V" are phonetically identical in Spanish, though the language preserves the orthographic distinction.)


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