R.J. Reynolds, Rolling Stone Faced with Lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two bands featured in Rolling Stone's illustrated editorial content called "Indie Rock Universe," which was between two music-themed Camel cigarette ads for its "The Farm: Free Range Music," are suing both the publication and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJRT), The Associated Press reported.

The Oakland, Calif.-based band Xiu Xiu and Toronto, Canada-based F -- -- -- Up filed the lawsuit earlier this week in Alameda County Superior Court, according to the report. The bands allege unauthorized use of the bands' names for commercial advantage and unfair business practices, according to the AP report.

"Many bands are angered and offended by what occurred," Christopher Hunt, a San Francisco attorney for the two bands, told the AP. Hunt added his clients are seeking class action status, which would allow members from the more than 150 bands featured in the ad to join the suit, according to the AP.

"The 'Indie Rock Universe' feature ... is not an advertisement," Mark Neschis, a spokesman for Rolling Stone, told the AP via e-mail. "It was conceived and created exclusively by the editorial department, without any review by or consultation with any advertiser."

The bands claim that the aim of the ads was to use the artists' names as a "credibility-generating engine within the advertising apparatus designed to deliver these commercial 'goods.'"

This lawsuit follows another by at least seven states' Attorneys General against RJRT, which claim the company violated a landmark 1998 settlement between 46 states and the tobacco industry, which prohibited the tobacco industry from targeting minors and using cartoons in advertisements, the AP reported.

David Howard, a spokesman for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds, could not comment to the AP because the firm had not yet been served with the lawsuit. He did note that company had no voice in determining the placement of its ads in Rolling Stone.

"Since that was editorial content, we had no knowledge of what was going to be included in that content other than it was going to be about indie rock," he told the AP.
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