James Jamerson’s widow sues La Bella Strings

James JamersonAccording to the Detroit Free Press, the widow of Motown’s master bassist James Jamerson is suing La Bella Strings for using his name and image in its marketing. The suit is seeking at least $25,000.

Annie Jamerson, 68, is filing the suit against La Bella, which “touts James Jamerson in the packaging and ads for a set of bass strings.” The complaint filed says that this interferes with James Jamerson’s right of publicity, which should pass to a figure’s heirs.

Jamerson’s attorney sent cease and desist letters to several companies last year for using the bassist’s image on products, and they all complied except La Bella, who could not be reached for comment on the situation. “We gave them multiple chances. They’re more interested in making money off the product than with Annie’s rights,” said attorney Jeffrey Thennisch.

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  1. Kevin

    I don't mean to be in any way insensitive but… is it really necessary to sue them? What harm is being done except that they are recognising him and his legendary status, and he DID use their strings? Why do people need to take every little thing to court these days…

  2. Chris

    The reason why they are resorting to suing is because they are using his face as advertisement. Advertisement costs money, and if the person is being used as a marketing tool, they should receive some sort of monetary gain from it.
    It says that the widow contacted all other companies that used his image on products and all stopped except this company, which didn’t even respond to the warnings. After this, what choice do they have but to sue?

  3. Anthony Armstrong

    I agree with the suit because I would not have bought the strings myself if they didn’t bear the name of Mr Jamerson. I have also told my bass playing friends that these strings exist

  4. Stuee

    The thing is, to us he’s James Jamerson the famous bass player. But to Annie Jamerson he’s just James, her deceased husband whom I’m sure she loved dearly and misses every day.
    She clearly doesn’t want all kinds of companies making money off the back of her dead husband’s name, and this is proven by the fact that she hasn’t done deals with any of them to take a cut – rather, she has asked them to stop using his name and/or image on the products entirely.

    She is only suing to get them to stop, otherwise I’m sure she’d be going for a much larger figure.