Fifty years ago, it was the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, with Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album “Surrealistic Pillow” providing the soundtrack. My how times have changed!
Earlier this week, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California came out with its initial decision in Chaquico v. Freiberg, which involves the latest squabble to arise out of the legacy of that classic San Francisco band. Plaintiff Chaquico was an original member of the band Jefferson Starship, which guitarist Paul Kantner formed in 1970 out of the remnants of the Jefferson Airplane. Chaquico sued the musicians who continue to tour and record as Jefferson Starship now, claiming that they breached a contract to cease using the name “Jefferson Starship,” and have given consumers the false impression that he somehow sponsors, endorses, or is otherwise still associated with the band by using his name and likeness to promote their concerts. While the band members seemingly admitted using his name and image, they claimed that they only used those in a historic context to document the history of the band. The band members claimed a First Amendment right to use his name and likeness that way, and argued that the Lanham Act cannot restrict their artistic freedom. Continue Reading