Terry Rozier has loved the movie “Scream” since he was a kid — he even has the spooky mask worn by the killer in the 1996 film tattooed on his arm.
So last season, when people started calling the Celtics point guard “Scary Terry,” Rozier saw a chance to cash in by merging his favorite horror flick with some personally branded merchandise.
Five hundred sweatshirts and T-shirts that displayed a cartoon version of Rozier wearing the so-called “Scream” mask, with the words “Scary Terry” written below the image, were printed up. Within days, they were gone.
“Scary Terry sold out!,” Rozier wrote on Twitter in February, after promoting the clothing. “Y’all want more???”
Unfortunately, if the New York company that owns the intellectual property rights to the Halloween mask — known formally as the “Ghost Face Mask” — has its way, those hoping to get their hands on Rozier’s unique apparel may soon have some trouble finding it.
According to a lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York this month, Easter Unlimited Inc., is suing Rozier for copyright and trademark infringement for his use of the mask.
The company claims Rozier knowingly printed the logo on his personalized clothing line without explicit permission or authorization from them.
Easter Unlimited is seeking damages from Rozier for the violations, court documents show.
“[Rozier] adopted the Ghost Face Mask design as his own mascot and paired the design with his alter ego ‘Scary Terry,’” the lawsuit claims.
Besides hawking the clothing through his personal Instagram and Twitter accounts, Rozier also gave several apparel companies permission to sell the merchandise bearing the image without the consent of Easter Unlimited, according to the suit.
“[Rozier] has received a financial benefit directly attributable to the Infringements. Specifically, [Rozier’s] use of the Scary Terry nickname paired with the Ghost Face Mask as his mascot, realized an increase in merchandise sales,” the lawsuit says. “A large number of people have viewed and purchased the unlawful copies of the merchandise displaying the Infringements.”
The logo came to be after Barstool Sports podcaster Coley Mick shared a collection of nicknames he had for Rozier when he met the Celtics point guard last year.
“He definitely said he liked ‘Scary Terry’ the most,” Mick told the Globe in March. “And I told him he could have it.”
The moniker had been gaining some buzz on social media, so Rozier’s marketing team ran with it.
At first, they developed a cartoon version of Rozier wearing a “Jason” mask, from the “Friday the 13th” series, and slapped it on a shirt. Being a self-proclaimed fanatic of the “Scream” films, however, Rozier told his team at Verus Management that they should swap out the Jason mask for the Ghost Face mask instead.
“[The mask in the movie “Scream”] was just my favorite,” Rozier said at the time. “Then people in Boston started doing the Scary Terry thing, so they started using the Jason mask and I’m like, ‘Nah, we’re using ‘Scream.’”
Rozier talked about the conception and the popularity of the logo in an interview with GQ magazine in October, the lawsuit claims, saying “around the time the playoffs, we started selling them out.”
A Boston Celtics spokesperson and Rozier’s representatives at Verus Management did not immediately return requests for comment.
According to court documents, Easter Unlimited has owned the copyright and trademark rights to the Ghost Face mask for years.
The company licensed the mask for use in the popular “Scream” series, the lawsuit states, which helped it become “widely famous” and one of the more popular costumes worn around Halloween.