What originally looked like a PR coup could be turning into a PR headache for Verizon Wireless. Earlier this week the the company announced that it had signed an exclusive deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) to sell its customers ring tones from music catalog of Bob Marley. But just two days later the singer’s family said they would file a lawsuit to block the deal, reports.
According to the Times, a spokesperson for the family said Verizon Wireless originally approached him a few months ago and after meeting with representatives of the company twice it proposed the deal as a matter of simply licensing the music. The family, the Times reports, held that if the cellular company was going to provide the ring tones exclusively and use Marley’s image to its marketing benefit, it amounted to an endorsement.
An endorsement contract would give the family more control of how Marley’s image and name could be used. Verizon did not make an endorsement offer and went to Universal and made a deal without the family’s blessing.