Back in 2007 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. ran an ad disguised as editorial content in Rolling Stone which featured an insert called "The Indie Rock Universe" that had cartoons and features on indie rock bands. F*cked Up and Xiu Xiu have both sued the company over using their names in the feature.
A number of states have also filed suit for completely different legal reasons. The artist are suing over the unauthorized use of their names in the ads and the implication that they endorsed the product. The states are suing over the ad having violated the multi-state tobacco Master Settlement Agreement from back in the 90s. This week there were two major developments in the cases.
"A Philadelphia judge has ruled that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. violated the multi-state tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with an ad it ran in an issue of Rolling Stone in 2007 and must either run a "youth oriented anti-smoking advertisement" in the magazine in the next year or pay a sanction of more than $300,000." - The Legal Intelligencer
The reports are also surfacing that "resolution has finally been reached" in the F*cked Up/Xiu Xiu case. The Judges ruling in the first case can not help R.J. Reynolds in this one. Under California Law (where the F*cked Up/ Xiu Xiu case was filed) F*cked Up and Xiu Xiu could be both be entitled to huge damages of up to $750 per ever single Rolling Stone sold. In theory this could be a HUGE pay day to the artists. And for R.J. Reynolds that is in addition to all the lawsuits from the sates.
Mad props to F*cked Up and Xiu Xiu for being the only two out of the dozens abused by the story willing to put their names on a lawsuit involving Rolling Stone. The rest of the acts, although covered under the suit, were all presumably too afraid of potential band press (or, worse lack of press) from the magazine to put their names down.
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And to Camel: You spent this much time, energy and money on this eight page ad and yet spent not time thinking about the giant legal issues behind it? How stupid is everyone working for you? And to the marketing people who thought it up: the bad press you have gotten from this is still coming in, will keep coming in for months and will out last any memory of the ads in the heads of those who saw it but did not hear the controversy. Maybe instead of trying to secretly scam off a subculture you are not a part of try and find a way to support it openly.