Malaysian rock band Search embroiled in dispute over unauthorised merchandise

Former vocalist Amy and current bassist Nasir claim online retailer Home of Champions did not get consent from the next-of-kin of the band’s late drummer

Members of Malaysian rock band Search are threatening legal action against a company they allege is selling unauthorised merchandise in the group’s name.

In a post on Instagram on Thursday (May 21), the band’s former vocalist Amy said he had filed a cease and desist order against an individual Mozylir bin Mokhtaruddin, who is said to operate a merchandising business under an entity called “Home of Champions”.

Amy, real name Suhaimi Abdul Rahman, said he and Search bassist Nasir Daud claim the merchandiser had not obtained their consent and approval to produce the merch from the next-of-kin of the band’s late drummer, Yazit, who died in 2019.

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The document Amy shared on Instagram mentions several websites selling the disputed Search merchandise, which include band t-shirts and accessories. One of the websites, which was still up and running at press time, is running a pre-order for a limited-edition model of sneakers that is purportedly a collaboration between the band and the brand Aliph. The sneakers are priced at RM599 a pair.

On Friday (May 21), local daily Berita Harian reported that Amy, Nasir, and Yazit’s family have given the company seven days to cease selling the Search-branded items, and that they would proceed with legal action if it refused to do so.

“If they fail [to comply] with the period given, we will get legal advice and begin legal action,” Nasir told the publication.

In a statement on Monday (May 24), Home of Champions claimed the company and its lawyers have yet to receive any legal notice from Amy and Nasir.

The online retailer said it would hold a virtual press conference this Friday (May 28), where it would address “all issues” and answer questions from the media. Home of Champions’ lawyers and also members of Search – which the statement did not name – will be in attendance, the retailer said.

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The statement also assured customers that its business was running as usual. Read it in full below:

Disebabkan SOP PKP 3.0 diperketatkan, pihak kami hanya dibenarkan untuk membuat sidang media secara virtual ( online )…

Posted by Home Of Champions on Sunday, May 23, 2021

In a New Straits Times interview published March, Search guitarist Nordin said the band was promoting limited-edition Aliph sneakers. “We’ve had meetings with the owners of the brand and we’ll be promoting the Aliph Search model of shoes at our events. The other Aliph models will be introduced later,” he said.

In that same story, Nordin claimed that there were parties interested in acquiring Search’s catalogue of eight albums.

Amy – the band’s founding vocalist, who announced his departure from the band for the second time last year – shared on Saturday a video of a call he had with Nasir, in which the latter said he had not spoken to Nordin in a year.

“So how? He [Nordin] has been planning all sorts of things behind us. But never mind, there is a lawyer that will solve this,” Nasir said in the video.

Anything that u do to uphold justice and your right in the court of law is the right thing to do . Copyrights & intellectual property ..

Posted by Amy Search on Friday, May 21, 2021

In his first post, Amy said that following Yazit’s death in 2019, “the members of Search had agreed to ensure all of Yazit’s rights on Search’s name, as well as his work for Search from 1981, will be given to Yazit’s next-of-kin”.

“Nasir, Amy and Yazit’s next-of-kin obtained legal advice and have issued a claim against Mozylir bin Mokhtaruddin/Home of Champions to stop their activities stated above.”

Yazit did not appear on Search’s last album, 2017’s ‘Katharsis’, due to his illness, Amy said. The record was instead released by Amy, Nasir, Nordin and guitarist Hamzah Taib – who is Nordin’s brother and also known as Kid.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Nasir said he and Amy had been advised by their lawyers to refrain from commenting on the dispute, which he said came down to copyright and intellectual property rights.

Nasir also touched on Amy’s departure from the band, saying the singer’s absence from Search was hopefully temporary. “The truth is Amy is ‘upset’ momentarily, and we are optimistic that he will return to the Search fold,” he wrote.

Nasir also asked all quarters to stay calm over the case. “We will leave it to the Honourable to handle this issue. It’s not a fight or war but a business transaction that required clarifying and explanation.”

In April this year, guitarists Nordin and Kid performed Search songs during a mini showcase featuring Akim and the Majistret vocalist, Akim Ahmad, under the moniker Search X Akim. The trio were backed by the band’s latest drummer Par and sessionist bass player Galang.

Search are arguably one of Malaysia’s most prominent rock bands, releasing 11 studio albums starting with their debut ‘Cinta Buatan Malaysia’ (‘Malaysian Made Love’) in 1985.

The band are also widely known for their 1989 single ‘Isabella’, as well as other 1987 hits such as ‘Gadisku’ (‘My Girl’), ‘Fantasia Bulan Madu’, and more.

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