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Green Day Band Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 30, 2010 2:00 PM

The Green Day band was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly stealing an image used as a backdrop during their American Idiot concert tour.

The graphic image apparently is the original artwork of Los Angeles based artist Dereck Seltzer who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the punk rock band Green Day, according to the Examiner.com.

When Seltzer noticed that the image was being used for promotional materials and concert performances he decided to take legal action against the band.

In general, copyright infringement involves any violation of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. It may be unintentional or intentional. Infringement of copyright is usually established through circumstantial evidence. Typically, such evidence must show a substantial similarity between the original and the copy, as well as prove that the copier had access to the original.

Seltzer is seeking damages of $30,000-$150,000 per infringement. In the complaint, the Green Day band is charged for using the artwork without authorization.

Seltzer's artwork, which is a close-up abstract image of a frightened, fang-toothed face is titled, the Scream Icon.

Seltzer said Green Day added the cross to the image but that it is still his artwork that was clearly and deliberately used.

His lawsuit also claims trademark infringement, unfair competition and injury to business reputation for misappropriation of the Scream Icon.

Green Day's attorney, Don Passman, told TMZ the band received the image from a reputable business, "and was unaware that there could be any copyright or other issues."

It is unclear how much money the band would have to pay in total if Seltzer prevails.