Nirvana Hit With Copyright Lawsuit For Allegedly Using Dante’s ‘Inferno’ Illustration

Nirvana has been sued by British artist C.W Scott-Giles‘ granddaughter for allegedly using an image from a 1949 English translation of “Dante’s Inferno” on their merchandise.

Jocelyn Susan Bundy sued Nirvana LLC, Silva Artist Management LLC, Live Nation Merchandise LLC, and its Merch Traffic LLC unit.

The lawsuit alleges that since 1997 Nirvana has been using an image created by Scott-Giles without permission on shirts, mugs, records, and other merchandise.

The complaint states, “On or about January 20, 2021, Plaintiff discovered that Defendants Nirvana and Live Nation Merchandise are (and have been) licensing, promoting, selling, manufacturing, and distributing vinyl records, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, key fobs, mugs, patches, buttons, and other merchandise items depicting an image virtually identical to the Illustration both in the U.S. and abroad.”

The complaint adds, “Further research revealed that some of the unauthorized uses of the Illustration on NIRVANA-branded merchandise date as far back as 1989. Further research also revealed that over the years, the band NIRVANA and parties acting on its behalf have routinely made false claims of ownership of the copyright in the Illustration by placing false copyright notices on the Infringing Products in substantially this form ‘© [Year] Nirvana.'”

The image is known as Dante’s Inferno, which depicts a map of hell in the form of circles. It was originally described in Italian writer Dante Aligheri‘s 14th-century poem “Divine Comedy.”

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