Rock heavyweights sue Web site

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Some rock legends are taking a music memorabilia Web site owner to court, alleging the unlawful reproduction and sale of vintage recordings and concert memorabilia.

The plaintiffs -- Grateful Dead Productions, Carlos Santana and members of Led Zeppelin and The Doors -- filed a federal lawsuit Monday against William Sagan, operator of Wolfgang's Vault. The San Francisco-based Web site sells material Sagan obtained after purchasing some of the assets of Bill Graham, the famed concert promoter who died in a 1991 helicopter crash.

Graham's holdings included thousands of concert posters, shirts, photographs and recordings, which the artists never authorized for Sagan to distribute, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks a judge to block any more sales and award unspecified damages and attorneys fees.

"We have never given permission for our images and material to be used in this way," Bob Weir, of the Grateful Dead, said in a statement. "What Sagan is doing is stealing. He is stealing what is most important to us -- our work, our images and our music -- and is profiting from the good will of our fans."

Sagan declined to comment, saying he had not been served with the suit.

The suit also accused Sagan of selling baby clothing showing the artists' names -- which it claims is trademark infringement -- and offering to illegally license recordings of live concerts.

No hearing has been set.

The case is Grateful Dead Productions v. Sagan, 06-7727.
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