As always, Stereogum is your one stop shop for Santi White litigation and tourdates news. Santogold’s sorta blowing up, right? Cue the lawsuits. It’s not everyday I get to use my entirely rusted law school skills, so thanks to the Lustigman Firm, P.C. for emailing us their amusing 20-page complaint (it opens by quoting “The rules I break … Me I’m a taker” from the hook of “Creator”!), filed in US Southern District Court of New York against Santogold, Downtown, and Lizard King Records, on behalf of Santo Gold. Who is Santo Gold? Plaintiff refers you to Clause 2 under Nature Of The Action:

Performing as Santo Gold since 1983, Plaintiff Santo Rigatuso has earned a cult following for his unique, and sometimes bizarre songs, movies, and infomercial appearances.

Here are the Santos, side by side:


That’s pretty great and is also Stereogum’s EXHIBIT A because along with “infringing” Santo’s “mark,” Plaintiffs allege some image appropriation: namely that Santi had her backup dancers wear sunglasses on national television, and Santo Gold also wore sunglasses. Plaintiff rests, your honor.

Before we go any further: ? is lawyer shorthand for Plaintiff, ? is the symbol for Defendant. So! ? allege that by ? releasing and marketing Santogold, and buying up Santogold-related domains (aside from, which was already registered by ?), Santogold is “crushing ?’s hopes of continuing his music and acting career.” Hahahaha. Oh you probably don’t get why that’s funny yet. Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present in person, Santo Gold:

I think we can all agree it’s definitely Santogold that is the biggest obstacle to Santo Gold’s future in entertainment. This one is pretty great because the intro features Sydney Pollack! If Sydney Pollack was a terrible actor and in the intro to an infomercial for Santo Gold:

Worth noting, ? allege that Santogold gave an interview to in which she admitted to wearing jewelry similar to ?. Also worth noting, the complaint makes specific mention of the Bud Light and Converse campaigns. Which is smart lawyering, but also sorry testimony to the decrepit state of affairs within the music industry: even Santo Gold knew the suit wouldn’t be worth filing on record sales alone.

Santo Gold seeks an injunction barring ? from the use of “Santogold” or anything “substantially similar”; compensatory damages (i.e. cash money); profits incurred from use of “the infringing mark”; and, awesomely, recall and destruction of all ?’s items already in commerce infringing on the “Santo Gold” mark. However, my legal skills suggest he could settle out of court for a free pair of Converse and a six pack of Bud Light.

I’m no expert on Lanham Act litigation (music/art law, corporate securities, and international law, at your service) and all of this may seem frivolous, but as Dan Snaith can tell you, it is no joke. Santi if you need an unqualified lawyer, email me. In happier Santogold news, she’s been tapped to open two legs of the Coldplay tour. (The guys have good taste in openers — remember, they brought out Black Mountain back in the X&Y days). Here are all of Santi’s dates:

07/20 – New York, NY @ Central Park SummerStage (headlining)
07/23 – Chicago, IL @ United Center (supporting Coldplay)
07/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Center (supporting Coldplay)
07/29 – Montreal @ Bell Center (supporting Coldplay)
07/30 – Toronto @ Air Canada Center (supporting Coldplay)
08/02 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center (supporting Coldplay)
08/03 – Washington DC @ Verizon Center (supporting Coldplay)
08/04 – Boston, MA @ TB Banknorth Garden (supporting Coldplay)

Go see her. She’s good live. And hold on to that copy of Santogold … it may become a collector’s item.

Comments (22)
  1. I remember seeing those Santo Gold infomercials at like 3 in the morning back in the late 80′s and I could never tell if they were joking or not. There’d be a wresting match going on and then all of a sudden they’d try and sell you some shitball jewelry.


  3. Andrew  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

    How is this frivolous? He had the name first. No matter what your opinion of the quality of the material he created under this name, the fact remains that it is/was (apparently) his livelihood. Wouldn’t you be kind of pissed if someone appropriated the name “Stereogum” and was way more successful with it than you?

    Sure this Santo Gold dude is pretty terrible (perhaps even more terrible than the more famous Santogold), but you have to admit, he kinda has a case.

  4. Johnnyboy  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

    It helps when you spell words right and stuff:

  5. peterperfect  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

    Andrew, using your logic it would be using “Stereo Gum”, or perhaps “Gums in Stereo” that would offend thee?

    • Andrew  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

      Do you honestly not see how “Santo Gold” and “Santogold” are similar? Does that space really make them completely different to you?

      By YOUR logic, I could start a company called Micro Soft and I wouldn’t get sued.

  6. mcgee the happy bee  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

    none of this makes the santogold album suck any less, does it?

  7. El Payo  |   Posted on Jun 18th, 2008 0

    Well, Muammar al-Gaddafi can sue Santo Gold for appropriating his likeness.

  8. Fantastic. The obvious solution is some kind of collaboration. I would love to see that!

  9. Kevo  |   Posted on Jun 19th, 2008 0

    As a law student, I completely agree with everything Andrew said.

  10. i dunno, i think he kinda looks like rick springfield.

  11. werd  |   Posted on Jul 7th, 2008 0

    she and her label should have known better. once they started googling the name and saw that was already registered her label should have put the kaibosh(sp?) on that shit. It wasn’t too late for her to change names even though she was getting a buzz as “Santogold”. Shit even her nickname she got from a friend when young was probably because of the infomercials. I mean other artists have gone through name changes. Shit look at Common Sense to Common. I dig her to death but they should have been smarter about it when putting out the album. I hope she doesn’t get too fucked over because I seriously see that happening. Atleast she will loose some money.

  12. Dane  |   Posted on Jul 15th, 2008 0

    Santo Gold should be very thankful to Santogold, because I had no idea who he was without searching HER name. Can he prove that she has impeded and made him lose money somehow? More than likely not.

  13. Blerb  |   Posted on Jul 16th, 2008 0

    Santo old.

  14. There is only one REAL Santo Gold and that is Santo Victor Rigatuso! He has been Santo Gold since this girl was in kindergarten.

  15. Znkp  |   Posted on Jul 26th, 2008 0

    I fully agree with El Payo; Santo Gold looks like Gaddafi/Qaddafi (and also a little Bob Dylan maybe, just maybe)

  16. I presume that from this guys logic actors become famous from aliases such as “santo gold”. He should be flattered that she decided on the same name.

  17. aro  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2009 0

    how about Santo Clause?

  18. Santi  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    I guess I must be famous now;)

  19. what’s in a name?

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