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Eric Church Sues Over Unlicensed T-Shirt Sales

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Eric Church is getting tough with bootleg merchandisers. The country superstar filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday (March 10) in an attempt to stop sales of unlicensed T-shirts outside his concerts.

According to Nashville’s The Tennessean newspaper, Church is seeking an injunction against the unlicensed vendors — named as Jane and John Does in the filing — to prevent them from selling the illegal merchandise, and is also seeking unspecified monetary damages from their previous unlawful sales.

The complaint states that Church’s team has encountered numerous vendors selling unlicensed shirts at his concerts, which are similar in design to his officially licensed merchandise, but of inferior quality.

Church has tangled with bootleg merchandisers before; in May of 2012 he filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, seeking a federal court order to “authorize the seizure of infringing goods at and near … 2012 tour concert locations,” claiming that without that action, he would “lose innumerable and irrecoverable sums in merchandise sales and will suffer incalculable, irreparable damage to his reputation and goodwill.”

Church’s current The Outsiders tour has been one of the most successful of the past year, but his success comes with a price. In addition to his repeated problems with bootleg merchandise, the singer-songwriter has gone to war against ticket scalpers, instituting some unusual measures to try to ensure that his fans can get tickets to his shows at a fair market price, including limiting the number of tickets sold in a single purchase, using paperless tickets and even employing purchase order sweeps to spot illegitimate sales.

In April of 2014, Church even went so far as to cancel nearly a thousand tickets that his team identified as having been sold to scalpers before a show at Target Center in Minneapolis. He refunded the purchases and put the tickets back on sale so that fans could have a fair shot at those seats.

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