The Johnny Cash estate is going after a wedding venue, which reportedly is using an image of Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, without permission, to promote their own business. Now, the John R. Cash Revocable Trust has filed a lawsuit against Johnny & June’s Reception Hall and Entertainment Venue, as well as the owners, Dustin Smith and Kathy Smith.
“Defendants are using the name 'Johnny & June’s,' prominently-displayed images of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the Venue, and the Johnny Cash song lyrics in their online marketing," the lawsuit alleges, as reported by The Blast.
“While the Trust understands the pop culture appeal of referencing Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and appreciates the Defendant’s affinity toward the Cash family, their love story, and country music, the Trust is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the names, likenesses, trademarks and other indicia of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash are not used in a manner that is likely to cause confusion or mistake in the marketplace," the lawsuit continues. "The Defendants’ use of the names, likenesses, and personae of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash is without permission or authorization from the Trust.”
No one from the Cash family has publicly commented on the lawsuit. According to the Johnny & June Facebook page, the space is also a popular live music venue, with artists like Little Texas, the Kentucky Headhunters scheduled to appear. Drake White also performed two shows there in July, only a couple weeks before his hospitalization.
The John R. Cash Revocable Trust isn't opposed to using the likeness of the Cash family, when explicit permission has been given. The Johnny Cash Kitchen & Saloon opened in Nashville earlier this year, using Cash family recipes, as well as displaying many of their personal items.
“On behalf of the Cash family and estate, I am honored and excited to have this additional alliance with Bill Miller to expand celebrating the lives of John and June Cash," Cathy Sullivan, speaking for the John R. Cash Revocable Trust, said. "Johnny Cash is still a vibrant force in the Nashville community and beyond. It is a fitting tribute to bring this unique venue where families and friends may gather in a way that brings new life to the Cash family style of entertaining.”
The Man in Black sold more than 90 million records throughout a career that spanned more than 50 years. Cash passed away on Sept. 12, 2003, almost four months after his wife died.
Photo Credit: Getty images / Michael Ochs Archives