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Is this kosher?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by stratovani, Jul 13, 2020.


  1. This might be hypothetical, but it has elements of truth to it. Let's say there was a band in existence in the late 60s in a certain country that was basically a glorified garage band. They played a few gigs in coffee shops, high schools and local town festivals, then broke up around 1971. Almost 50 years later, someone moves to another town in another country, and wants to use the band name for his own. Should he do it, or is it frowned on? I almost hate to say this, since I can't stand to say this, but I'm asking for a friend.
     
  2. rockdoc11

    rockdoc11

    Sep 2, 2000
    There was actually a similar situation in my city, where a locally successful rock and roll in the 1960s had been inactive/broken up for 25 years. Let's call them, "The Incredible Dukes."

    In the 1990s a local musician who had been a big fan of the group back in the day wanted to start up an oldies band called, "The New Incredible Dukes." He ran down and contacted the original members of the Dukes, all of whom said "Okay" or "What do I care?"

    That "new" band is still up and running today (or at least was before the pandemic). I think permission is the best way to go.

    That said, there are so many bands with the same name around the U.S. that it doesn't seem to be much of an issue unless a band hits the big time.
     
    Nashrakh, BOOG, TinIndian and 12 others like this.
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    I have a hard enough time finding band names that are not in current use.
    If I had to do a historical search for band names in every country in the world, I think I'd find there were no names left anywhere.
    If it's just the same name, and not trying to re-present the old music as their own, i don't think I could worry too much unless it was -so- innovative and unique that it would be instantly recognizable to everyone as the same name.
    F'rinstance - "Beatles" would probably be right out, even if it weren't still under active trademark protection.
    If the band didn't have a big international presence (in which case the name is still probably administered by the publisher...) I expect you'd be OK.
    Do your standard TradeMark search and see if it's still active...
     
    dkelley and HolmeBass like this.
  4. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Was this person, your friend, in the original band - or is there any other connection?
     
    chadds likes this.
  5. No, there is no connection. The band was in the late 60s Montreal South Shore, and my friend is in Central Massachusetts today.
     
  6. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Lawyer bassist here - the name isn't really protected by law or really worth anything on its own. It would be different situation if you took the name of another band in your area that was currently operating as a commercial enterprise, but we all know you shouldn't do that, and that's not your fact pattern.
     
    12BitSlab, RSBBass, legalbass and 4 others like this.
  7. dtripoli

    dtripoli

    Aug 15, 2010
    CA
    Is it Kosher to use your old band's name, in a different country that is almost 50 years old?
    I'm no Rabbi but it's been 50 years, who the heck is going to know or care?

    We had a band last year totally usurp our groups name. We were called "The 'lead female vocalist's name' Project" Like 'The Jane Doe Project'
    They used the same name but changed the last word from 'Project' to 'Band'
    We simply made sure we were advertised as, "The original....Project" or The Real....Project on flyers, schedules and marques.
    The copycats faded out shortly there after. We looked at it as free advertising and it created as buzz and filled our pockets and tip jars.
    After all, isn't Imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
     
  8. Koshchei

    Koshchei

    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    Probably fine, but might want to check with the surviving members first, if he's still friends with them?
     
  9. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I don’t see an ethical issue with that - enough time and space between the two, IMO as long as the new band is not passing themselves off as the old band in any way.

    I played in a band in the early 2000s that shared the same name of a contemporary Toronto band with a decent level of fame. No way would anyone would confuse my band with that band.
     
  10. rzamites

    rzamites Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2020
    Michigan
     

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  11. oren

    oren

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    As long as you don’t mix meat and dairy, or include pork or shellfish, it’s likely kosher. If the band name is Cheeseburger or Rock Lobster, you’re out of luck.
     
  12. If it aint copywritten, it doesnt exist.
     
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    You don’t copyright names. You file for a trademark if you want to protect your business trade name. Two different things.
     
  14. Two different things, same subject matter. If it aint legally bound, it don't exist.
     
  15. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Not Kosher unless you put "The New" in front of the old name.
     
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    True enough. But the devil is in the details when it comes to all things legal. Even punctuation marks can make a difference.

    And even should a trademark be granted (and you have to file for a trademark unlike a copyright which exists by simple virtue of the work’s creation) there are conditions that apply after the fact to keep it valid.

    Either way, I think you’d be very hard pressed to come up with any halfway decent band name these days and not discover via a simple Google search that at least 20 other bands are already using it. :laugh:
     
  17. Hahaha. I've got a sweet spot for "Galactic PussyCat" ...funk. nobody else seems to dig it though. I think it's dope.
     
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    After five months shy of 50 years since 1971 when the band broke up?

    I doubt hardly anybody would remember. And few of those care even if they did remember. :laugh:
     
    HolmeBass and DrMole like this.
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Dude, don't call your band The Beatles!
     
    Nashrakh and Oddly like this.

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