01.31.09

Copyfright Infringement : Who Dares Challenge The God Of Thunder On The Slippery Slopes?

Posted in The Marketplace at 12:25 pm by

Not content with disparaging Maura Johnston, Kiss founder / marketing maven Gene Simmons turned his attentions later this week to Faction Collective, an independent ski company. Faction had the bad fortune to display a new pair skis featuring Simmons’ iconic face (in make up, natch) at a Vegas trade fair without obtaining the bassist’s permission.  Who’d have thought Gene would personally pay them a visit?  From the New York Times’ Christina Erb.

œMy friend said, ˜Oh my God, it™s Gene,™ and then he bolted ” he just left, said Ross Janzen, who was manning the booth for the Faction Collective. œI turned around and it was Gene. People were standing three-deep around him. I was completely dumbfounded. He™s an imposing figure.

Faction took up about a dozen square feet, making it a blip on a convention floor occupied by more than 820 brands, 445 exhibitors and 3,479 booths. The four-day show, which ended Friday, drew 18,000 people ” one of whom happened to be Simmons.

Surrounded by an entourage of barely clothed women, Simmons was there to promote a snowboard and ski accessory line called MoneyBag, a label he runs with Jason Dussault.

œIf you™re a bootlegger, and you think you™re going to get by and put something out illegally, it will cost you more to defend that than simply getting a license, Simmons said in a telephone interview Friday. œThey think they can get by being a nuisance, just pests, until they meet Gene Simmons, who kills pests dead.

Janzen offered to give Simmons the skis. Instead, Simmons gave Janzen his lawyer™s contact information.

Bill Byrne, who runs a public relations firm in San Diego and works for several outdoors brands, said: œGraphic take-offs or blatant use of a brand™s likeness without consent is one way a lot of brands build product awareness or controversy. The downside is, there could be some unanticipated legal issues.

œGene is known for going after people that use his likeness. My guess is that ski guys think they are under the radar enough to do it. What are the chances that Gene Simmons is going to walk through S.I.A.? Does he even ski?

2 Responses to “Copyfright Infringement : Who Dares Challenge The God Of Thunder On The Slippery Slopes?”

  1. Ben Schwartz says:

    Does that mean he licensed BOTH midget KISS acts? Those two bands hated each other, and he must have known what he was setting up. Bastard.

  2. Alex Hoye says:

    Thank you for picking up the story.

    I’m one of the co-founders of the company and just wanted to re-iterate where we are. We are fans of IP and would never move skis into production without the right paperwork.

    Since we had no response to date, we decided to get some topsheets made to see if the reception would be worth us pressing the issue further. It was good, and now we just have to see if the royalty side of it would make it worth it.

    I don’t know Bill Byrne, and no doubt he is right sometimes, but in our case, not close – having Simmons come to SIA was perfect so that we can close the loop one way or the other.

    Check out the full and ongoing on factionskis.com/news

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