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Bands with the Same Name - How do you deal with it?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Rob-in-London, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. Rob-in-London


    Jun 21, 2008
    London, England
    Endorsing artist: Rusty Deluxe Pickups
    Hi all,

    Are there any easy rules of thumb to go by when choosing a band name that's already taken? It must be a common enough issue. (I know it's easy to say just find a unique name, but that's a different discussion.)

    The only thing that matters, I was once told, is whether or not the other band is signed (to any label big or small). And that this would be key if it would ever come to a lawsuit one day. But other than that, what other things have you looked at when that Google & Facebook search for your perfect name shows that others have got in before you?

    Of course things like the country they are from, and the size of their fan base (judging from Facebook, ReverbNation, etc.) come into play, but where do you draw the line?

    Any thoughts or experiences to relate?

  2. I use google, facebook and reverbnation , if no one has the name within 150 miles I use it.

    If their is an original band with the name that has released music in the last few years I wouldn't use the name.
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When I looked, there was one in New England, and there was one in Ye Olde England. They both apprear to be quite regional, so what are we gonna do?
  4. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Back in the pre-Internet days, the name we gave our band happened already to be taken by an even smaller band in the next state up from where we were based. There was no way of knowing beforehand, other than hiring a trade/copy search lawyer which would've cost thousands. At one gig we were visited by a deputy Marshall with a cease & desist. Today I simply will not use a band name that's already taken, no matter by whom, no matter where they're located, even if they've been defunct for decades. Too many sharks in the water, so why "ask for it?"
  5. interesting story about band names and the gig i just played on saturday. there was a band booked on the gig, but we were looking at there facebook gig's section and no mention of it. they told us they werent playing, we say something to the guy running the show he says they are playing he talked to them.. 4 days before the show, we ask again, the band says they are not playing, guy running the show gives us the ok to find a band to replace them, we do. day of the show, the band that wasnt playing shows up.

    here there are 2 bands with that name both from new jersey, we were talking to the one never booked on the show, the venue was talking to the one that fails at returning emails.

    show was great tho.
  6. Unless a band's name is copyrighted, it's fair game. If you haven't copyrighted the name when you get signed, then the label will make sure it happens. So what you said about not being able to use a name if the band is signed is partially true in that every signed band name is unusable, but some unsigned bands also have a copyright on their name.
  7. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    How to name your band.

    Step 1. Find a band in another region that might become more successful.

    Step 2. Establish yourself with their name in your region.

    Step 3. Obtain cash settlement from label for rights to use their name in your region.

  8. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player

    Mar 14, 2011
    Band names are not "copyrighted" but "trademarked". Here's some info advice....

    "The name of your band can be legally protected - not by copyright, but by federal Trademark Registration. This form of legal protection gives you exclusive rights to use the name in connection with your band's recording and performing. Trademarks can also protect the name of your record label, publishing company and merchandise.

    A service mark is a type of trademark except it identifies and distinguishes a service rather than a product. It is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services. A band typically provides entertainment services, so registration of the band's name as a service mark is the proper type of legal protection.

    Ownership of the band's name is important in the event that the band breaks up. Who owns it then? Band members should clearly agree about who owns the legal rights to the band's name."

    You can search band names in various places including....
  9. Thanks for the brain fart correction. I'm now going to go trademark the name "Brain Fart Correction".
  10. Rob-in-London


    Jun 21, 2008
    London, England
    Endorsing artist: Rusty Deluxe Pickups
    Yes of course. The old "law of the land" thing. It's not so much about bands as it is about brands and business names. Thanks for bringing me down to earth guys.

    I did some research just now - registering a trademark is not necessarily cheap. And you can't just jump in and grab the rights for the whole world either. But it's all making more sense now.

    I found a good overview written by a lawyer here. Succinct but with plenty of detail...

    Here are some interesting excerpts. Really makes you think!

    "While Federal registration is the best way to protect your rights to a band name, even State registration of your mark is better than no registration at all."

    "It is not enough merely to think of a clever name - you need to show that you have publicly used the name in a commercial manner. For Federal registration, you must also establish proof that the name was used in "interstate" commerce..."


    Even without registration, your band may have some rights to your band's name if the name is been actively being used on a commercial basis. The extent of "common law" rights your band name may have acquired will depend on how long, and in what regions, the name has been used. If your band name has been established in a particular region, it is possible to prevent subsequent bands from using the same name in that region. By the same token, two bands with the same name may each acquire common-law rights to the name in their respective territories. While this arrangement may not bother a small band performing in only in one geographic area, it can lead to serious problems if that band later becomes more ambitious. For instance, if band #1 from the Northeast scores a big record deal or attempts a national tour, it may be necessary to purchase any common law rights band #2 may have acquired in the same name in California. If band #2 doesn't want to give up its name, or their price is too high, then band #1 may have no choice but to change its name."
  11. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player

    Mar 14, 2011
    I think that's taken ;)
  12. sevdog


    Mar 2, 2008
    As you can see simply by the responses so far, there are a number of different guidelines that can be used and often end in the band with the biggest, baddest lawyer winning.

    I would recommend what someone else has already said, if there is another band with the same name anywhere, then come up with something else.

    However, if you do end up in a dispute with another band and don't have a big expensive lawyer then I would always default to Monkey-Knife Fights. If the other band won't agree to it then they are huge pansies and you win the name by default.
  13. if you google "meet at sundown" you get
    1- our website
    2- our myspace
    3- our facebook
    4- our lastfm
    5- our reverbnation
    6-8- youtube videos of us
    9- our drummer's google+ acct
    10 - our twitter

    i think we're good

    edit* oh the end of page 2 an article about us.. !score!
  14. Rob-in-London


    Jun 21, 2008
    London, England
    Endorsing artist: Rusty Deluxe Pickups
    Now that's the best argument for finding a unique name. Who wants to share a name when you can own the first page of Google!
    (btw it looks pretty much the same on Google UK :cool:)
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    HA! That's you!!!! I know who you are on FB, but yeah..... Your handle makes total sense now!
  16. i had a band with the same name threaten legal action. the annoying thing is after they split they wouldent let us use the name
  17. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Fight to the death. There can be only one!
  18. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    This has been done, with varying degrees of success... AFAIK there once was a 'Durex novelty balloon company' either here in Ireland or in the UK :D
  19. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That's already taken? I think the idea is to choose a band name that is NOT already taken. Not only do you avoid legal trouble, far more importantly, you provide yourself with an opportunity to create a unique identity - one which is potentially priceless, depending upon what you ultimately do with it.

    It may be a "different discussion" - but it's also the ultimate solution. Consider that the English language alone offers literally millions of potential combinations of words in easy, two-word, three-word or four-word phrases that could work as a band name. Add in such additional factors as "alternative" misspellings of commonly-used words (i.e. "Beatles" rather than "Beetles", etc.), numerals, foreign-language words, plus entirely made-up "words" or portions of words, i.e. syllables, etc., and your options for creating a truly unique band name - and identity - are practically unlimited. Under those circumstances, there is simply no excuse for settling for a band name that is trite, hackneyed, overused - or just plain bad. :rollno:

    Once you have selected and begun to use your ideal band name, then the intellectual property laws become your friend - not your adversary - as they help you to protect the brand equity that rightfully belongs to you. So by all means get your band name trademarked/servicemarked, and snap up as many TLDs, of as many versions of your Internet domain name as you can afford. But at the end of the day, it is the distinctiveness, cleverness & uniqueness of your band name that will truly set you apart, promote you, and protect your interests. Your IP rights can only assist and support in that process.

    So much for the "your band name doesn't matter" POV... :rolleyes:

  20. he's on to me :bag:

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