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Annals of trademark law: The Dave Anver Affair

Posted 5 years ago by jackl - 23 comments Link:

We've written before about trademarks and bootleg merch sold on "Shakedown Streets" at shows. The phishnet forum and Phantasy Tour message boards have been buzzing since the Dick's shows about the strange affair of a freelance contractor, Dave Anver, long active in seizing supposedly bootleg merch for promoters in the Denver area.

The Westword blog site in Denver covered the original incident which was sparked by a YouTube video and a "Stop Dave Anver" Facebook page campaign and writer Dave Herrera has returned with a long and troubling discussion of what happened that day in the lot at Dick's with a "bootleg merch bust" that somehow went very, very bad.

Herrera's article, "Phish Story: A fight on Shakedown Street left one man in stitches and another fearing for his family" is here.

The article has extensive background on illegal merch which is a must read, particularly because of its in depth look at the evolution of the Phish lot scene and extensive interviews with Kevin Shapiro and Amy Skelton./#

Here's one thing Amy said that didn't seem to percolate through to Anver, based not only on this incident but many in Denver for decades:

"She had very specific rules for how such actions were to be handled, though. Before engaging in any type of search-and-seizure type activity, Skelton made sure those helping her with enforcement knew which merch was permissible and which wasn't. "When they got to the show, they would meet me in the merch room," she remembers. "And I always had a bag of samples. So we'd stand in the merch room with my bag of samples, which I'd throw out on the table, like, 'That is our logo. This is our name. Also, this word Gamehendge is copyrighted. You can take that, too.' We'd go through why all of the other things weren't. So I spent probably fifteen minutes before I sent the guys out there. And then I was on radio the whole time, monitoring them."

It's clear that while the legal rules and Phish's interpretation of copyright infringement were reasonable at the top, Herrera seems to question whether fine distinctions between infringing and OK (things like song title shirts, no logos etc.) actually got translated into the field when it came to "bouncer"-type private enforcers like Anver.

Disclosure: We've unfortunately had some bad experience with Dave at Phishnet/Mockingbird. Anyone remember those refrigerator magnets promoting our first edition of The Phish Companion that we handed out for free during the summer 2000 tour (photo below to jog your memory or fill in for newer fans)? Our publisher, then Miller Freeman books paid for them as part of their advertising and publicity budget we had contracted for. There was nothing infringing about the magnets, bandmembers and management had cooperated with us in fact checking the book in various parts. But Dave often seemed not to draw fine distinctions and seized magnets from one of our volunteers at the Desert Sky show in 2000.

Photo credits: top, courtesy Mark Manger, from the YouTube video of the incident; bottom, phishnet staff

#/ Update: The author informed us that he did not interview Kevin Shapiro; Kevin's quotes are taken from previous court papers seeking injunctions against bootleg merchandise sales.

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CleverRuse Reply
CleverRuse I hope they put this guy away..this belongs nowhere on lot. I don't care what the guy was trying to sell, this is truly awful.
Score: 5
Pibbs Reply
Pibbs What is wrong what that guy. Who hired him. They should feel disgraced by the video because they hired a violent and sick guy that has no self control.
Score: 0
Lemuria Staff Reply
Lemuria So, who's making the "Wanted!" posters with his face to post in future lots? :)
Score: 2
nematode Reply
nematode worst part is that phish hires him all the time for this bullshit.

@lemuria someone needs to do it!
Score: 0
InsectEffect Reply
InsectEffect Important to note that the vid doesn't show the entire altercation. Having read the article, it sounds like both these guys were probably out of line, though one certainly more than the other.

Dave Anver definitely has a history, and while making his face public and shaming him on facebook etc may be warranted, threats of violence against him and his family are completely uncalled for, and an embarrassment to the Phish community.
Score: 18
TNTNeal Reply
Phans number in the thousands and can not be controlled by Phish or their fellow Phans, whether in the lot, the show, or on Facebook. Threats to Anver's family are certainly out of line, but he brought this upon himself. What Phish CAN control, however, is who they fucking hire to do their thug work. It sounds like they need to pay Amy Skelton whatever it takes to get her back in control of this stuff. This is egg on Phish more than anything for continuing to employ a thug with a shady history.
Score: 2
DrWilson Reply
DrWilson I agree with InsectEffect totally. Both of these guys were out of line. In the article Amy Skelton says she is more comfortable with off duty police officers and it is pretty obvious why she would be. This guy, Anver, is a narcissistic asshole who should never be in position of any authority. There is no doubt he inflamed the situation quite a bit instead of difusing it the way a true professional would have. By the same token, Paik was selling illegal merch and was probably not too cooperative and likely aggressive himself. I believe that Phish is entitled to every dollar they can earn and no one has a right to sell their shit, ever. They are gracious enough to look the other way with the song title shirts, etc., let's not forget that if they really wanted to they could likely make that go away, too. I think spreading the word that this guy, Anver, is bad news as a warning to stay away from him and if you are forced to deal with him ever, tread cautiously and request law enforcement supervision. He certainly does not deserve to be threatened and neither does his family. I feel that it is pretty unlikely that Phish will do business with him again after this. His results are not worth the risk. Also he has made himself a target on lot now, which reduces his effectiveness to nil. Obey the laws people, its really the best way to stay out of trouble. If you don't like the laws then back someone who can get them changed or run for office yourself.
Score: 3
phisherman Reply
after reading the article and the one in westward, fuck dave anvel. sure, the other guy had some involvement, but anvel was supposed to be at work and supposed to be the professional. he should have known that he was coming into a crowd with mostly intoxicated people and should have altered his behavior accordingly. at one point in the video anvel was chasing the dude. to me that says it all. he obviously has a rage issue and he was once charged with manslaughter after a fight in '89. he is a scumbag and people i hope he didn't procreate. this is some BAD press for phish, and i have to say they may want to consider how far they want to take these pursuits, because in the end i view it as their responsibility to help foster the culture that has made them successful and part of that includes who they pay to work their shows.
Score: 0
Furry_Thug Reply
Furry_Thug @phisherman said:
he is a scumbag and people i hope he didn't procreate.
Oh, but he has. That night his son posted on FB something along the lines of "Dad just got home from tenderizing a hippie."

I've been following this story a bit since I got back home from CO. Didn't hear anything about when there, but supposedly this guy has been a problem on lot in the Denver area for some time, be it Phish, Further, Pearl Jam, etc.

What I am curious about is whether this guy is hired directly by the bands entities, or if he is part of a base personnel through a local (Denver area) firm that is hired by the band? I do think it makes a difference. This kind of stuff has no place on a Phish lot, or any lot for that matter. I hope everyone has learned something by it, including those selling trademarked goods.
Score: 1
EdwardGRobinson Reply
EdwardGRobinson This is hands down the most depressing thing I have ever seen discussed on or any other phish related forum. Unfortunately for all of us, the completely unacceptable and reactionary response that many phish people have made to it (not here thankfully) make us all look like a bunch of morons.

Suggestions ranging from smashing Anver in the face with a bottle to dousing him with a vial of "L" have been put forward in the blogosphere. Bottles are best recycled, and "L", the last time I checked, has better uses than being poured on douchbag merch police.

Also, not to rant, but it is just not okay to call people "fucking fags" because you don't like them. Some in the Phish community haven't learned that yet. "Fag" went out of style in the 90's. In this case, it is double offensive because no homosexual in the world would want to be associated with Dave Anver.

We had the moral high ground on this one, but some people gotta go and spout off a bunch of nonsense.

In conclusion, Dave Anver can go suck a lemon.
Score: 8

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