German Court Allows Frank Zappa Festival To Continue, Despite Protests From Zappa's Wife

from the celebrate-the-music dept

Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail Zappa, has been rather aggressive over the years in “protecting” the intellectual property associated with Frank Zappa and his music. Most recently, she tried to stop the very popular Zappanale festival, held each year in Bad Doberan, Germany. The festival has gone on for 19 years (this will be the 20th) and celebrates all things related to Frank Zappa. Last year, nearly 10,000 Zappa fans showed up. But, Gail Zappa apparently was quite upset by this, and sued the organizers for trademark infringement, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars for daring to celebrate her husband’s music without a license. Reader Clive Lines writes in to point out that a German court has ruled against Zappa, allowing the Zappanale to continue — noting that Gail Zappa had no legitimate trademark claim, since she had not used the Zappa trademark in Germany. The court also noted that the logo used by the event organizers (involving Zappa’s combo mustache/soul-patch) is allowed to remain as well — as it’s significantly different than the “official” Zappa logo, meaning there is unlikely to be much confusion.

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Comments on “German Court Allows Frank Zappa Festival To Continue, Despite Protests From Zappa's Wife”

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17 Comments
GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Obligitory, for Madam Zappa...

Yes, Gail, you’ve really earned this:

“Whereupon I proceeded to
take that mitten full
Of the deadly Yellow Snow Crystals
And rub it all into (her)
beady little eyes
With a vigorous circular motion
Hitherto unknown to the
people in this area,
But destined to take the
place of THE MUD SHARK
In your mythology
Here it goes now . . .
THE CIRCULAR MOTION . .”

KC says:

Re: Hmmm

Uh, you’re kidding right? The whole Zappa clan has been infected with Liberalitis, as most of those who live in the So. Cal area & do not have to work for a living tend to do. Seriously, go peel back the curtains & look deeper to see what I mean. There’s plenty of proof for the finding. I especially cringed when I saw that she wrote stuff that wound up in the Huffington Post. Gail leans so far left, her eye drifts!

Dave says:

she's full of it

You know, I love Zappa’s music. And he was a very funny, intelligent, and thought-provoking guy as well as an excellent composer.

But that lawsuit is pure BS. So let me get this straight. If anybody has a Zappa festival anywhere, they have to pay her some money. Jesus H. Christ. She’s just trying to keep the gravy train going, like Yoko Ono. He made millions, and unless he spent it all, she should have been set for life, barring sheer stupidity.

And as Techdirt points out, a Zappa festival anywhere will tend to make her money, not take it away. Unless she gets so much bad publicity for being a jerk that people decide not to buy stuff.

ToySouljah says:

What a way to remember her husband

I would think she would be honored to have people organize a whole festival dedicated to her husband’s music. I’m pretty sure they would have loved to have her there to participate or at least make a small speech in his memory and to thank them for keeping his spirit and music alive. Oh well, I guess it is up to her to destroy what her husband worked for his whole life just so she could try and make a quick buck…a shame really.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Gail Zappa should take a page out of the Monty Python business model book and make Frank’s music more available. That way new people will be exposed and become fans.

Frank’s music is sort of like Monty Python’s material because it’s perfectly executed, timely, and utterly absurd at the same time. And like Monty Python, it’s something that each generation of college kids should be exposed to.

As I’ve said a million times here, obscurity is any artist’s biggest obstacle. I’m sure that Gail thinks that doesn’t apply to Frank’s music because he is famous. But she’s wrong. Frank is only famous to those who know his music. The vast majority of people today are utterly unfamiliar with his music.

KC says:

Re: Reply to Ima Fish

Gail has gotten so damned sue happy & goes after absolutely anyone & everyone who plays his music or even wants to do something to celebrate the man. She even shot down the city of Berlin wanting to name a street in his honor because she didn’t like the fan club that had helped to get support to do so. I get very mad at her because she is among the rest of the idiotic “Hollywood Elite” that Frank utterly despised & treats the former band members like crap & will sue them too if they DARE play the music that is in any way connected to Frank. She & the kids are entitled to capitalize on his music, but refuses to help support the musicians who helped make those fantastic songs. When she set out to punish ALL fans for the actions of a few bootleggers by releasing the “Beat the Boots” series instead of continuing the “You Can’t Do That…” series, I grew very disenchanted with the whole Zappa clan. It’s sad that I may never be able to replace my lost, stolen, or badly damaged CDs bought way back in the 1980s when the technology was new all because she wants to punish the fans & while Dweezil is a great guitarist in his own rights, he’s not Frank & I don’t want to buy his albums as a sort of placebo to make up for wanting to hear such albums as “Them or Us.” Gail bitches about people making money & abusing the copyrights, blah blah blah, but as I know her only interest in not allowing ANYONE to perform Frank’s music or do something nice such as having this festival is because she feels she’s not going to get ALL of the money made. Frank is probably spinning in his grave as the family has not taken advantage of the internet & helping to keep his music available to all, as “Ima” points out what the surviving members of Monty Python had done. If she hates large corporations like iTunes which would give the Zappa Family Trust pennies to the dollar of what they get in making the music digitally available & wants to capitalize on it, they could easily set up a page on the Zappa site which sells the music in MP3 form or make it free to those of us who loved Frank’s or those who want to hear it for the 1st time, yet she’s “only in it for the money!”

Ross Rebagliati says:

Frank festival

Frank Zappa has been an inspiration to myself and millions around the world for decades. It has been a dream of mine to attend the Frank festival in Germany. I have ‘Frank in stone’ masoned into the interior of my house. I listen to Frank everyday. When I die I want to be reincarnated into the notes from Franks guitar. Smoke that!

Ross Rebagliati

Olympic gold medalist

Anonymous Coward says:

Reply to Ima Fish

The reality is that Frank had told Gail to release all of his music and masters. She for some reason decided to go against HIS wishes about HIS music. He didn’t give a rats ass. She seems to for her own reasons, perhaps staying in the limelight long after her relevancy was over. She formed the ZFT he didn’t. She likes to give interviews and sound important. IF she really cared about Frank, the fans and HIS music should would release the material. Its ALL about her.

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