Nirvana facing lawsuit over “unauthorised” use of ‘Vestibule’ design on merch

The design can be seen on vinyl records, apparel and other miscellaneous collectibles.

Nirvana onstage

Image: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Nirvana are being sued for copyright infringement, over the ‘Vestibule’ design that has appeared on their merchandise for years.

The design in question is a depiction of a map of hell illustrated by C.W. Scott-Giles, who drew influence from the 14th-century epic poem, The Divine Comedy.

Now, the artist’s granddaughter, Jocelyn Susan Bundy, is suing the band for using the art piece on merchandise – including vinyl records, apparel and other miscellaneous collectables – without permission.

“Research revealed that some of the unauthorised uses of the illustration on Nirvana-branded merchandise date as far back as 1989,” a legal complaint (via Blabbermouth) wrote.

The complaint went on to claim that Nirvana previously “implied that Kurt Cobain created the illustration or, in the alternative, that the illustration is in the public domain in the United States.”

Merch with the design can be purchased on a number of storefronts, including the Hot Topic and Sub Pop‘s online stores.

This isn’t the first time one of Nirvana’s designs has been the subject of a copyright lawsuit. Back in 2018, the band sued fashion designer Marc Jacob for allegedly copying the iconic smiley face logo.

Two years later, in 2020, graphic designer Robert Fisher stepped up to sue Nirvana, claiming that the smiley face logo was created by him while he was employed at Geffen Records in 1993.

In other Nirvana news, the images from Kurt Cobain’s final formal photoshoot will be sold as a non-fungible token (NFT). It collects 104 photographs shot just weeks prior to the musician’s death in 1994.

Related Artists

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.