Don Henley sues Duluth Trading Co. over shirt advertisement pun


Rock legend Don Henley was not amused when the Duluth Trading Company borrowed an Eagles lyric in a recent advertisement.

"Don a henley and take it easy," reads the recent email ad (seen at right, via the Hollywood Reporter), referencing the Eagles' breakthrough song, "Take It Easy," the Current reported.

Henley is suing the Wisconsin-based clothing company, for unauthorized use of his name, trademarks and intellectual property rights.

"Large numbers of consumers who receive and see Duluth Trading Company's advertisements will unquestionably believe that Mr. Henley is associated with and/or has endorsed the company and its products, which is untrue," alleges the lawsuit, filed in a California district court and uploaded by the Hollywood Reporter.

A spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter that Henley and the Eagles take offense when others try to "piggyback and capitalize on their art."

"Both Mr. Henley and the Eagles have worked hard, for over 40 years, to build their names and goodwill in the world community," the spokesperson told the paper. "They pride themselves on the fact that they have never allowed their names, likenesses or music – individually or as a group – to be used to sell products."

The Duluth Trading Company was launched in 1989 by two brothers, Bob and Dave Fierek, and is now based in Belleville, Wisconsin, according to the company website. In addition to its mail-order operation, the company has six retail stores, including a Fridley location that opened last week, the Star Tribune reported. Henleys, a popular t-shirt style with a short run of two to five buttons dripping down from the collar, are sold as part of the trading company's primary clothing line of durable work and outdoor wear .

A company spokesperson told Rolling Stone it had no public comment on Henley's court case.

A litigious history

Henley has a history of taking to the courts in defense of his intellectual property.

In 1999, Henley filed suit in Texas against Dillard Department Store after an ad featured a Henley-clad character named Don, with the copy, “This is Don’s Henley,” the Consumerist pointed out.

Less analogously, in 2010, a federal judge ruled that a California senatorial candidate, Chuck DeVore, infringed on Henley's copyright by making campaign ads featuring parodic versions of Henley's songs "All She Wants to Do is Dance"and "The Boys of Summer," the Hollywood Reporter said.

Then, in 2012, Henley and the Eagles threatened a lawsuit over a Frank Ocean track that borrowed the medley of the band's hit song, "Hotel California," Rolling Stone reported.

Later, Henley blocked Okkervil River from releasing a recording of his song, "The End of Innocence," online, Rolling Stone said.

"You can't rewrite the lyrics to somebody else's songs and record it and put it on the Internet," he told the magazine. "So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it."

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