Retired Mohawk wrestler Billy Two Rivers to settle lawsuit against Van Morrison

A retired Mohawk professional wrestler has reached an agreement in principle to settle a lawsuit with singer Van Morrison over the use of his image on the cover of an upcoming album, his lawyer said Friday.

Billy Two Rivers’ New York-based attorney, Michael Graif, said the litigation has been put on hold while the two parties work out the details.

“Billy is very happy to have a quick settlement without further litigation,” Graif said in a phone interview.

Two Rivers, a longtime wrestler turned politician and activist from the Kahnawake Mohawk territory near Montreal, filed the complaint in July in the United States against Universal Music Group and the musician.

Two Rivers, 82, said a photograph of him in the wrestling ring was used on the cover of Morrison’s upcoming album without his agreement or consent.

The black and white photograph is also part of the promotional material for the album, titled ”Roll With the Punches,” which is scheduled for release Sept. 22.

The photo is believed to be from a British wrestling promotion.

“This case was a very simple case,” Graif said.

“It involved the use of Billy Two Rivers’ image on Van Morrison’s upcoming album cover without my client’s authorization.”

Emails to the record label and the singer’s agents were not immediately returned.

Graif explained that everyone has the right to control the use of their image for commercial purposes, regardless of whether the photographer has granted rights to the photo.

He said he did not know the details of the settlement or whether Two Rivers’ image would still be used.

Two Rivers, who spent nearly a quarter century in the ring beginning in the 1950s, has also worked as an actor and was involved in Kahnawake politics for two decades.


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