Festivalgoers attend the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018, in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)
*The Coachella Music Festival is taking legal action against the organizers of the DC music events known as Moechella, claiming copyright infringement.
As reported by The Washingtonian, the lawsuit accuses local go-go promoters Justin “Yaddiya” Johnson and Kelsye Adams of “intentionally trading on the goodwill” brought about by the California festival’s events.
According to the lawsuit, Moechella, is “lying about its origin per a false designation of origin, and violating common trademark infringement laws without using a trademark,” writes MadameNoire.
The inspiration behind the Moechella event came from protests over a Metro PCS store in DC that was forced to stop playing go-go on its outdoor speakers in 2019. The name Moechella stems from the DC-area slang word “moe”, as reported by The Washingtonian.
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“He didn’t name it Moechella, and the use in regards to the global DC protest movement is not something that he can choose to use or not,” said Johnson’s attorney Nate Kelly.
“I have no problem pivoting from the name,” he says. In the lawsuit, the parent company that owns Coachella Music Festival and Goldenvoice noted that Johnson told Washington City Paper last year, “I’m not going to stop using the name. It’s a protest” But, according to the report, a Long Live Go-Go email blasted last month used the word “Moechella”.
“Long Live GoGo” was Johnson’s original event name, according to reports.
“He didn’t name it Moechella, and the use in regards to the global D.C. protest movement is not something that he can choose to use or not,” Kelly said. The problem in Johnson’s defense is that the promoter rebelled against Coachella’s trademark on record, with Johnson saying, “I’m not going to stop using the name. It’s a protest.”
Johnson is hopeful that the lawsuit will ultimately be dropped.
“I have no problem pivoting from the name,” Johnson said. “The name was brought to me by the people, so I want to make them a part of renaming it.”
The Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owner of the Coachella Music Festival, claims the trademark infringement damages its brand.
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