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How do you secure the rights to a band name?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by NightCat, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. NightCat

    NightCat

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    Damn, I put the whole question in the title....

    BTW - I DID try to search the forum for an answer because I'm sure this has been asked before.

    So, a couple of us geezers have formed a band and we made up a name. How do we make sure no one owns the name and how do we keep the name from being used by someone else.

    We are just hobbyists and will only be playing the local pubs and such so the question is probably more academic than practical.

    I have bought the url from GoDaddy and started a Revernation page under that name. Does that mean it is mine?

    NightCat
  2. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

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    If its a hobby and your not looking to put out original music I wouldnt even be worried about it.
  3. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1

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    You can trademark the name. If you do a Google search, you'll find plenty of information.
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee The Fat Violin Supporting Member

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    What difference does it make if you are writing your own music? I'm not being a wise ass for once. I'm serously asking, because I am curious and don't know the answer.
  5. Richard Walters

    Richard Walters Gold Supporting Member

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    Get a "service mark" for the state you are in. Do a search and then apply to the proper organization in your state.
  6. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes

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    Most likely because if you're a cover band, you won't have national exposure. If you're writing original music, there's a good chance you want it to be heard outside your area, which could then lead to problem if an existing band has the same name.

    I would say to not worry about the name. If you're just hobbyists, it's worth neither the time nor money to try (you'll have to pay money just to TRY) to secure the name. At this point, unless the name is completely insane, there's a good chance some band already has it somewhere. If a google search comes up empty then then there's most likely no one with any kind of legal claim to the name. If someone takes your name, you could hire a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter, but again, it's probably to worth the money.
  7. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

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    I agree with AdamR.

    That said ...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f67/copyright-advice-226871/#post2696602

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f67/copywrite-questions-460313/index2.html#post6132774

    Would need much more info and exactly what you mean by "mine." For example, if you owned the url PEPSEE.COM it's likely you'd hear from the folks at Pepsi. Therefore, the URL might be yours, but it's not likely to do you much good.

    The number of bands and artists has made name rights very difficult to come by unless you're using a very unusual name. Anything with generic terms in it has become almost impossible to trademark which is why, again, I agree with AdamR.

    However, there is info at one of the links regarding do-it-yourself trademark applications.

    Best,
    MA
  8. NightCat

    NightCat

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    We are putting out original music. It probably doesn't matter really. I was just wondering what recourse or protection I could have if someone came along and demanded that we quit using "their" name. We may just be a hobby band but these kind of "old friends in a garage band" things can last for ever.
  9. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

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    It matters because the whole point of a trademark or service mark is to identify to the consumer your product or service. If you see a can marked in Coke's distinctive red and white packaging, then you're going to expect a certain taste from the cola. If you see an album with your favorite band's name on it, then you probably have some expectation as to who the members are, what the music will sound like, and so on.

    In essence: what are you selling that's worth protecting? If you feel you're going to be a live performance band that will fill clubs because when people see an advertisement for a performance by BAND X they'll come hear you, then maybe it's worth a service mark, but usually not.
  10. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

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    Again, name protection has become very tough. Obviously, if you put out songs and records, then those will be protected by copyright (assuming you've come with songs and recordings that are copyrightable).

    However, trademark and service marks are different beasts and generally not necessary unless you're going national. If you're careful (and creative) about your name and you start playing live and releasing materials, then you may be entitled to some protection on a common law basis (per the notes in my link).
  11. NightCat

    NightCat

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    I guess what I mean by "mine" is, If I post video's on Youtube or as I have done create a Revernation account, I don't want some hothead sending me threatening emails saying they had the name first AND be able to take the name. On one hand it is kinda stupid and pointless for a local pub band to worry about it, on the other hand people can be iceholes. I too can be an icehole if pressed.

    I guess I won't worry about it too much, however I will read the links you posted.
    Thanks!

    NightCat, bassist for The Legendary HellHounds, which, as far as I can tell is not a trademarked name....yet...
  12. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass Supporting Member

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    Just do a google search. If any band has any presence whatsoever, they will appear in a google search. If nothing hits on "[my awesome name] band" then there probably isn't anyone using it. At that point I wouldn't worry about getting it registered?

    Is this you?

    http://www.concernhotline.com/content/legendary-hellhounds
  13. NightCat

    NightCat

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    Exactly. That is not us. I have googled them as much as I can and they seem to be a one off act. It looks to me like they are, or were, exactly like us just a group of friends playing local gigs. They don't seem to have taken the name anywhere or be using it anymore.

    I read the link on the local band name thing. They live a long way from us so I hope it is cool. I've googled a hundred names and this was our favorite and it "seems" to be available.
  14. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass Supporting Member

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    Then I would run with it and not worry about it! :D
  15. Gaolee

    Gaolee The Fat Violin Supporting Member

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    That reminds me of a story one of the guys in the World Saxophone Quartet used to tell during shows. When they were starting, they called themselves the New York Saxophone quartet. After a while, they stated getting some traction, and they got a notice that the name was taken. So they moved on to the World from New York. It was an amusing story, but it illustrates your point, now that you explained it and I understand it.
  16. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

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    This, Unless your really worried about another band in your area using your name. But I dont believe its cheap to trademark a name.
  17. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

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    Music Attorney's advice on these issues is always good, so I would start with the threads that he linked you to, but here is one additional thread with information you may find useful:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f67/band-your-bands-name-537892/#post7292928
  18. NightCat

    NightCat

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    I have learned a lot from this thread and the threads that have been linked. I honestly didn't know any of this. It is cool that regional bands can have the same name without causing legal problems. There is no chance we will play outside of our local area and any CD sales will be direct sales and/or through CD Baby.

    I think I'll change my band name to Dirty Licks.... hahaha j/k

    Thanks,
    ~NC
  19. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty Supporting Member

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    These days it costs $275 to apply for a U.S.-wide service mark. You may be asked to prove you used it first. The real problem is once you've got it, to keep it, you have to prove you actively defend it. Then you have to be the hothead threatening to sue.

    You could also get a service mark valid only in your state. I forget how much that costs, it isn't much. But the same business about actively defending it applies.

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