By Geoff Ziezulewicz
6:05 AM CST, February 1, 2014
Six members of the storied 1985 Chicago Bears threw a legal penalty flag Friday, filing a lawsuit to prevent non-charitable uses of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of “Shufflin’ Crew“ members Richard Dent, Steve Fuller, Willie Gault, Jim McMahon, Mike Richardson and Otis Wilson.
It alleges that the defendants, Super Bowl Shuffle rights owner Julia Meyer, and Renaissance Marketing Corp., Meyer’s agent for licensing the Shuffle, “have marketed, distributed and sold licenses relating to the Super Bowl Shuffle Crew members’ identities, images, names, photographs, likenesses, voices and performances in the Super Bowl Shuffle without the Shufflin’ Crew’s permission.”
The suit also alleges that the defendants have made money and other financial benefits from the Super Bowl Shuffle without the crew’s consent since Red Label Records assigned its interest in the shuffle to Meyer’s husband in 1986.
The defendants failed or refused to inform the Bears involved in the video of revenue the defendants received from manufacturing, advertising, sales, licensing and merchandising the Super Bowl Shuffle, according to the lawsuit.
Wilson said that Gault was the one who made him and the rest of his teammates who took part in the Super Bowl Shuffle aware of the circumstances.
“I certainly put my name to it because they made a whole lot of money off of us,” Wilson said. “Now that things are coming to light, I left it up to Willie to handle it. So I am 100 percent behind him. For my opinion, they used us and they made a lot of money and now is the time to pay up.”
The defendants failed or refused to inform the Bears involved in the video of revenue the defendants received from manufacturing, advertising, sales, licensing and merchandising to the Super Bowl Shuffle, according to the lawsuit.
The former Bears were also not informed of financial benefits made from use of their likeness, names, voices and performances in and out of the shuffle, the lawsuit states.
“The lawsuit provides that an important, and stated, objective of the Super Bowl Shuffle when it was produced in 1985, was to give back to Chicago’s neediest families,” Walid J. Tamari, a Chicago-based lawyer with Tamari Law Group who is representing the former Bears, said in a statement Friday.
Among other things, the plaintiffs seek that a constructive trust be established for charitable purposes that they select in order to continue the Super Bowl Shuffle’s charitable objective.”
Tribune reporter Fred Mitchell contributed.
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