Bob Marley's family to sue over US ringtone offer
NEW YORK - Bob Marley's family has said that it is planning to block a deal between Universal Music and US telecoms company Verizon Wireless to sell the reggae star's music as ringtones.
Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, a company owned by the family, has said that the agreement between Verizon and UMG, which owns Marley's label Island Records, had been entered into "without the permission of the Marley family".
According to a report in The New York Times, Marley's family considers that the deal goes beyond music sales and amounts to an endorsement. The deal between Verizon and UMG is exclusive.
The paper reports that Chris Blackwell, founder of Marley's label Island Records and a spokesperson for the family, had met with representatives of Verizon before the deal was announced, but that the family was not willing to consider an agreement unless they were willing to view it as an endorsement. This would allow the family to control how Marley's image was used.
Nonetheless, Verizon revealed the promotion earlier this week, boasting that the deal signified the company's leadership in the mobile music arena.
It is offering tracks of the classic Bob Marley & The Wailers greatest hits collection 'Legend', which features famous songs such as 'Buffalo Soldier' and 'Is This Love'.
The promotion tied in with the 30th anniversary of Marley's Exodus album being launched, which Universal Music Group plans to mark with a rerelease.
According to reports, Universal Music has described the suit as "meritless" and that the deal with Verizon was based on the terms of a long-standing contract with Bob Marley.
Verizon Wireless is promoting the Bob Marley offer on its website along with artists including AC/DC, Justin Timberlake and James Blunt.
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