Kool Herc sues HBO for imitating him on Vinyl
Kool Herc is suing HBO over the use of his likeness, name, and voice without his authorisation on their new ‘Vinyl’ TV show. Herc has been credited as an originator of hip hop in the seventies and for having invented the idea of playing two breakbeats together.
Kool Herc was offered a sum of $10,000 and consulting credits by HBO to waive his life rights, and according to The Hollywood Reporter he turned this offer down.
HBO went ahead and used material featuring him without permission. The offer that HBO made to Kool Herc, could count in his favour since it may have made him aware of his legal rights. ‘Vinyl’ is a show that celebrates the New York music and features a 1970’s hustler trying to make money out of the diverse scene in the city. This was Herc’s era, his impact in the seventies music scene in The Bronx, New York has left a longstanding impression on the foundation of the genre and those who understand the history behind it.
Below is an excerpt from the legal documents:
“This action arises from a violation of New York Civil Rights and infringement of state and commonlaw trademark rights. The Plaintiff commonly known as ‘DJ Kool Herc’ or ‘Herc’is a renowned artist that has been recognised for his significant skill and contribution to the development of hip-hop music and turn-tabling over the past few decades.
Through a recently aired television hit show, the Defendants’ mega television broadcasting and entertainment companies, knowingly and without authorization exploited and used the name, reputation and goodwill that the Plaintiff painstakingly created for himself.
Plaintiff now seeks to recoverfor the Defendants’ unauthorized use of his identity, name and voice in their television show, as well as their infringement of his ‘DJ Kool Herc’ and ‘Herc’ names.”
A statement by HBO in response:
“We are confident there is no validity to the claims.”