Justin Barnes Sues OCC, Discovery Channel, Activision Over American Chopper Designs

justinbarnesatcyrilhuzeblogOn May 26, Justin Barnes, a painter artist who created many custom designs for OCC motorcycles and merchandise has filed a lawsuit against OCC, The Discovery Channel and Activision for infringement and copyright violation. Plaintiff alleges that 18 original designs were copied without his authorization and compensation and then incorporated in many types of merchandise tied into the business of OCC and American Chopper Show. It includes artworks used on the DVD covers of several seasons of the show, die-casts, mouse pads, lunch boxes, key chains and other goods that are being or have been sold by OCC or third-parties. (Justin Barnes of JB Grafix has been featured on Discovery Channel’s American Chopper, which highlighted a number of his well-known designs, including The POW-MIA Bike, The Fire Bike, The I-Robot Bike, The Comanche, The Snap-On Bike and many more). Plaintiff requests his legal action to be tried by a jury.  Grab a copy of the lawsuit by jumping HERE.  (front of a jury? I bet that if these allegatons can be proved this lawsuit is going to be settled very fast and that Justin is going to make a bunch) 

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81 Responses to “Justin Barnes Sues OCC, Discovery Channel, Activision Over American Chopper Designs”


  1. 1 B-17 Biker Jun 21st, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    All I know is the show blows and the bikes are lame.

  2. 2 Jack Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Off Topic

    But whats wiyh Mikey and the Digital Electric shirt
    OVER and OVER again

  3. 3 SKiLLa Jul 25th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Well, all these interpretations & assumptions are fine, but without the exact details to back it up, it’s all worthless gossip. When no contracts are signed I guess it’s a case of “fair use – fair compensation”; which might not be the case here (as JB implies that OCC forced the “TV exposure” deal upon him after the finished produkt was delivered, on previously agreed terms).

  4. 4 Q Manning Oct 15th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    The way the show works plays into his favor. The guys never really have much of an idea what they want, they tell their painters colors broad, over-arching themes, and then let the painter do whatever he wants.

    There’s little give and take, no design approval process, which means the painters coming up with the bulk of the creativity. He should get a nice, big settlement and deserves to.

    I think a lot of the other vendors could do the same thing as well, frankly.

  5. 5 Captain Steve Nov 9th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Jack Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Off Topic

    But whats wiyh Mikey and the Digital Electric shirt
    OVER and OVER again
    ======================================
    =======================================

    I was watching a recent episode and noticed that Mickey had that shirt on. The logo looked almost identical to the logo for Junior’s new venture (the crown). It looks to me like Junior copied it. Hmm

  6. 6 bruce Dec 16th, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Can the same thing be said for the company that supplies the paint to ?Justin ?

  7. 7 Zaisermama Dec 17th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    What does it say on the back of those Digital Electric shirts?

  8. 8 reply Dec 18th, 2009 at 1:08 am

    What does it say on the back of those Digital Electric shirts?

    It’s not impossible, it just costs more.

    I am watching an old episode where Vinnie and Mikey are in Australia and he is wearing one even that far back.

  9. 9 Zaisermama Dec 21st, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks….that has been bugging me!

  10. 10 Henry Dec 23rd, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I have to chime in here. I MUST say that the pool shark chick that ordered the Paul Sr. version of the “Black Widow” Bike was ripped off no matter what she paid! What an ugly bike! The bike was presented to her and her hubby on some side street to hide the embarrasment. I almost never comment, but this bike was horrid. If I was Paul Jr., I would sue the old fart for his poor attempt at lifting the spider web design from him. Mikey is the last child to stop speaking to the old douche, he should give up on him and try to realize that he will never change and try to find something else to do besides please and entertain his dad. Paul Sr’s Mom pretends to like him cuz he is supporting her Im sure. Sr. will be an old sick dying man with no friends or family…or money if he keeps putting out all this bad karma.
    Jr. should team up with the OCC talent and crush daddy. Side note: Jr. needs to separate his work and his girlfriend asap! He will eventually begin treating her like his dad treats him during business hours, genectics at work here! He wont be able to help himself and I doubt that she will be too patient while she awaits her promised botique that aint never comin.

  11. 11 B Jan 25th, 2010 at 3:38 am

    I’ve always heard Justin and other painters were not paid for their work by OCC, as was posted here as well. Today I saw a rerun of the episode where sr takes the David Mann bike back from Justin. During a later conversation Sr gets on the phone to tell his guy to stop the check, refusing to pay Justin for the work he did up to that point.

    It seems odd that Sr would pretend to be paying him for the cameras–even if it were just to act like more of a big shot by “stopping” the payment, so I wondered if anyone had inside or first/second hand knowledge on the “check” he mentioned?

  12. 12 CPP3 Jun 8th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Just read B’ s comment… I think you are on to something there.

    IMHO to comment some earlier postings:

    I have worked by sides of litigations like this. Much depends upon the judges and (not OR) juries.

    I have seen civil trials that go right into the deep pockets of the monetary beneficiary of someone else’s work, even if the worker/artisan was well paid. Many times the larger more prosperous firm loses no matter what , if there is no specific terminology/verbage in a contract.

    Product licensing usually has to be clearly spelled out in the contract, in order for a complaintant to prevail, with conservative juries.

    However, liberal juries are usually more emotional (sensible?) and tend to punish larger companies who benefit UNFAIRLY from the sweat of another’s brow; especially if the jury feels that the larger company took advantage by not offering at least some form of revenue sharing; if this were customary under the normal course of business.

    Often a ‘large company’ can lose a suit simply because the company FAILed to provide protection for a contract contibutor/worker/artisan within the company’s own contract. It is often the jury’s perception of what is a reasonable fiduciary responsibility or reasonable contractual protection for the property rights of a contract contributor/atrisan , as provided by the ‘large company’ that makes the difference.

    Greed is not well received by most juries dealing with collaborations and compensation unless it is clearly define in advance, and the contributors waive their rights to royalties, by licensing agreements.

  13. 13 MrRB Jun 10th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    It’s interesting then that Justin specifically asked for jury in his lawsuit.

    Now that Paul Srs popularity is at an all time low and so many previously loyal fans think he’s so greedy he would put money before his own sons, even suing Jr for a million dollars, it’s a good climate for Justin to sit this thing in front of a jury.

    Even if Justin agreed initially to provide free labour so his art could be seen in the first series of the show, the question might be “did Justin agree to give OCC all merchandising rights to put his art on all their future products?”

    If I was on that jury he’d be getting a big fat compensation…

  14. 14 jim Jul 16th, 2010 at 2:38 am

    SR is a greedy pompous ASS for trashing his sons in the name of profit. he should go get professional help, then make peace with his sons, and all the rest of the artists who got him where he is today. Otherwise they all will get consumed in the bull**** that is to come

  15. 15 Shawn Jul 26th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I can’t wait until the Sr vs Jr starting in August, Nubs will be painting and we might even see vinny but paul will have to outsource alot of the projects as they did in the early series. I think the show should start with jr building a bike called the Ultimate Black Widow and if jr goes all out then its over for occ. Jr might rack up enough money to buy occ or atleast the machinery they have.

  16. 16 Paddy'O Oct 8th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    What saddens me is Paul Sr. KNOWS he should be rigorous in sustaining his Sobriety !! He acts Spiritually Corrupt when he denegrates his sons. If ALL your children are estranged…..the common denomenator
    is yourself. Sr. needs to look inward at His Part…..the only part he CAN control, least he become just a “dry drunk”. After 22 years sobriety ( I’ld rather have a cigarette than a drink) I struggle with being honest with myself and staying IN the moment. If Sr. falls ill…most would pick on the son’s for not rushing to Dad’s side…..when Paul Sr. will have to reap what HE has sown.

    Oh, Justin deserves everything he can get for his work.
    As does Nub.

  17. 17 johnson beath Oct 8th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    mikey is a fucking slug; if it weren’t for Sr. and Jr. he’d be flipping fucking burgers at Mickey D’s if he were luck enough.

  18. 18 will Oct 28th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    whatever happened with this lawsuit? did OCC and Discovery channel pay up? Did Justin win??

  19. 19 FLIPPER Nov 3rd, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Really????
    Johnson B — You have nothing better to write, you have to crap on Mikey?!?! Not everyone can be as cool as you. He MAKES that damn show. He’s very funny and very intelligent. Take a good look at Mikey folks, because that’s what genius looks like. He would leave everyone in that shop in the dust, if they gave them all IQ tests. You gotta love that the internet gives every bonehead a voice and an open license to talk shit about people.
    I think you should have to put in your name and address in order to make “comments”. That would slow down all the idiots and tough guys.
    -Anyway-
    Justin deserves a nice big chunk of money. I hope he gets everything that he wants. I hope nub jumps on that as well. They are both very talented. GOOD LUCK JUSTIN, GO GET ‘EM!!!!!!!!

  20. 20 rick Nov 14th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Just look at what happened to pee wee herman, and…..steve….the illegal alien.

  21. 21 Dave Dec 5th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    You all are making this (as is Justin and his lawyers) much more difficult then it really is. The law is simple but as with most cases, a judge will have to decide the out come. But the fact is, once you pay for a product, that product becomes yours. And you can do with it what you wish (within reason). If you take a movie or a song, you can take that movie or song and let others watch/hear it as long as you do not make any money from doing so. In the case of Justin’s paint jobs, even by reproducing a likeness of his paint jobs on say shirts or lunchboxes, its not enough to claim copyright infringement as it does not take money away from Justin’s business. If this wasnt the case then even something as simple as taking a photo of something and selling it on ebay would put a person in danger of being sued by the camera manufacturer because its their camera you used to take the picture. This is but a failed attempt to milk some money outta OCC

  22. 22 Chris Dec 17th, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Its kind of disturbing how so many people are so quick to say artists and designers rip off businesses. Im a graphic designer for a living and when a client pays me to design something, they’re payong me to design and provide a final file for them in a printable format. This doesn’t mean they they can have my native files to use on anything they want. An ad design gets an ad design; not a changeable file that the client can make changes to. Clients pay more money to own a design outright.

    If you own an original Picasso, owning it doesn’t give yiu the legal rights to produce and make money off of it. You simply have the rights to profit off the original. When you purchase a house or a car, that doesn’t give you the rights to own the artist’s blueprints and schematics. Same goes for a website. There are legal documents and laws that protect artists from getting their work stolen.

    As for Justin, if he did any of his work on Sr’s property, it would be considered ‘work for hire’. And i highly doubt that he wasn’t paid for his time while he was there. But if his work was used in apparel designs or other merchandise, that’s an entirely different ballgame.

    I can only say that everyone should remember that there are 2 sides to every story and Justin could be an idiot who signed a contract or a brilliant painter who could get a huge payday.

  23. 23 jimi Jan 7th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Hi all.

    I jsut have a couple of questions about the family. How did paul and mikey grow up? Did they have access to there fathers tools and knowledge? What is that worth? I know that everone hates Paul Sr. but in the same respect he did build all of his business from scratch and worked his whole life to get where he is. I am a very talented welder and fabricator and want to be rich as well but i dont have a father that has already made it big and has the assets to give me a big break like Pauls children. I am not saying that Paul Jr. is not talented or a great fabricator with wicked ideas but in the same respect what has he done in his life to earn what he thinks he should get. All his father wants is a hard worker that knows things are better earned than gifted. Easy come easy go i say.

  24. 24 WILDMAN Jan 19th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Ok Folks: Here is my opinion on the whole subject of these lawsuits! I’m not an attorney or expert in the matter, BUT! It all comes down to what is in paper!!! If it’s in black & white, then it is set un stone ! Unless there was some act of deception or fraud , it comes down to how smart that you or your attorney were when you negotiated the contract! That’s it! If it was a fair contract & both sides agreed to it & endorsed as such, it stands as written! On the other hand, if there were any “oral” contracts or “perceived ” contracts agreed on & were not abided by, Then there will & should be a lawsuit! BUT! here is the kicker folks, It’s not what is said by either parties or their representatives that was agreed upon, IT’S WHAT YOU CAN PROVE or DISPROVE IN COURT!!! That’s it! End of story! Period! Thanks for listening to my unbiased opinion on the matter! Good Luck to all who were mislead!!! Wildman from Missouri

  25. 25 Edmund Jan 28th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Now that OCC is closing down?, why all the chirping. please back off !!!

  26. 26 Mary Jan 28th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I am in early retirement due to health issues and I watch the re-runs of the show everyday. Many times I’m sewing and listening. I have sided with both Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. Basically I’ve come to this conclusion on both of them. Both men treat each other with disrespect and both men are wrong. The dysfunction in that family is obvious to me. (Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family). Also, I can appreciate the opinion that Mikey is a slug as well as a genius. He is quite worthless in making money but lets face it, a genius naps all day and still gets paid. In the dysfunctional family dynamics, Mikey is the scapegoat, and is probably in worst shape than the other two loud-mouthed egomaniacs. I wrote to Paul Sr. when the show first aired. I basically stated that I supposed that Paul Jr. got his self-esteem from another family member, as it was obvious to me that Paul Sr. was crushing his son from the start. That being said, Paul Jr. is no angel and says things that are JUST AS HURTFUL as his father says. Thank you for allowing me to state what I think. Mary

  27. 27 Bob B Jan 29th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    The walruses aging flabby arms are showing now. Time to cover up A**hole. 4 Kids and none talk to him and I was told in a recent episode he said he IS the victim. What a peace of whale dung. He is so jealous of his own kid he’s nauseating.

  28. 28 Joshin Apr 18th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    The bottom line is they all meaning Paul Sr, Paul Jr. and Mikey . And all the old crew: Vinny,Rick, Cody and I’m sure I left out some that should get credit too. When the money problems started all
    Paul Sr. cared about was his self. Making sure he still had it all and to hell with family or anyone else. And the sad thing is that if you don’t have family you don’t have anything.I hope they will get there problems resolved. And that Paul Sr. will admit he was wrong as were Paul Jr. for things he could have prevented. As far as Mikey he has his problems , but aleast he seems be be the only one who really cares about the family and wants to end all the mess.

  29. 29 PixelPete Apr 28th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    As a Graphic Artist in business for over 20 years now in Florida, heres my 2 bits. Whenever I have done custom work for a ‘major’ corporation, they ALWAYS have me assign copyright and agree to a non-retention (also called a copyright waiver). Thats the short version. Some of them are mutli-billion dollar household names. I talked to their lawyers about specifics many, many, many times so I am sure the info is correct.

    If JB did not sign any waivers or other legal agreements, I would be surprised if OCC doesnt end up handing him a boatload of money BUT I thinks its wrong. They paid him for a service (and probably paid him well) let it go.

    Personally, some of my best corporate clients have been smaller companies that were ignorant about these issues. After I educated them and signed my own waiver, they LOVE me and have shown loyalty because of it.

    JB is a gifted painter artist, but if he is doing this out of greed, he will likely never work in the graphics industry again – IMO.

    RW

  30. 30 Tarzan Jul 22nd, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    We’re watching a guy who can’t spell “copyright” argue with a guy who insists he knows how the case should be ruled, even though neither of them are lawyers. Neither of them have even read the employment agreements in force between the parties, or the publication and publicity agreements between the artist and the publishers.

    This is what the Internet is all about!

  31. 31 jjonzz Oct 16th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I am glad that so many legal experts took time out from their busy schedules to let us know what to expect from this case. Has it been resolved? As of October 2011 we can now see clearly that Paul senior is the asshole.

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