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Rush to Counterfeiters: Drop Dead

Knockoff economy enthusiasts, take note:

Rush – the Canadian band – is in the house.   My local rag, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reported the following on its front page this morning:

In advance of Tuesday’s Rush show, the firm that sells the band’s concert-wear asked a Downtown court over the weekend to order federal marshals to help stamp out knockoff gear.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court is a reminder of what happens when counterculture gets lucrative. The band that cemented its cult status with a 1981 anthem declaring that its hero’s “mind is not for rent to any god or government” has rented its brand to a firm that wants the government to protect its investment.

The lawsuit filed by Ontario-based Showtech Merchandising Inc. said unnamed “independent unlicensed peddlers,” who are mostly “nomadic individuals without business premises,” will descend upon Rush’s concert sites with inferior merchandize emblazoned with the band’s name and the images of members Neil Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. The Rush show at Consol Energy Center will be the third stop on a tour that runs through December, and Showtech would like to get a judge’s order in Pittsburgh that it can use to police all of the American cities the band will play.

The complaint said a judge should direct federal marshals, and authorize local and state police and agents hired by Showtech, to scoop up knockoff T-shirts and similar items.

The report quoted a couple of local IP lawyers to the effect that this sort of strategy — preemptively obtaining an injunction against counterfeiting, before the plaintiff could present evidence of counterfeiting — was unlikely to fly in a Pittsburgh courtroom.