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    rfguitar's Avatar
    rfguitar Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 12, 2011, 03:47 PM
    Music copyright laws
    I am from England and run a music band and another band has contacted me through FaceBook and email stating that they have copyrighted the same name in the USA . They are based in Washington DC,and that I should change our name.My band is just a small, local amateur group. I can't find them on the internet using a range of search engines. I have tried to track their band name on the US Copyright Office Database but do not know/can't find it? They have threaten legal action.
    Could you advise if you think this is some type of scam. There are so many bands around the globe with the same name. Ironically we have just changed our name because there was a local band with the same name. Do we change or could we be sued if we don't?
    martinizing2's Avatar
    martinizing2 Posts: 1,868, Reputation: 819

    Apr 12, 2011, 07:55 PM

    They would have to show how they were damaged by you using the same name to do anything legally , which is probably not going to happen anyway.

    What is the name of the band ?

    If you think you may ever publish or record anything and want to avoid problems, make some minor change to the name like spelling it differently.

    Example Wild Boys to Wild Boyz or Wyld Boyzz .

    Should not become a real problem.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 39,354, Reputation: 5431
    Jobs & Parenting Expert

    Apr 12, 2011, 07:57 PM

    There's no copyright on book titles, but not sure about band names. I'll check and get back to you soon.



    A common misunderstanding is the idea that one can "copyright" a band name. While it is possible to copyright the design of a band logo, the band name itself is not copyrightable. Band names are protectable under trademark law, because like "brand names" they allow us to distinguish one band's music and identity from another. They are what enable us to distinguish between a "Beatles" record on the one hand, and a "Chipmunks" or "Wiggles" record on the other.

    Technically speaking, a "trademark" is a word, symbol or device (such as a brand name or logo) that distinguishes one set of goods from another. Band names are actually considered "service marks" because they help distinguish between providers of entertainment services. If they are used in interstate commerce, trademarks and service marks can both be registered with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks. Besides obtaining registration of a service mark, a band may also register its name as a trademark if it is associated with specific merchandise, such as record albums, t-shirts or school lunch boxes.

    In addition to Federal registration, trademarks and service marks may also be registered on on a State-by-State basis. 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.


    A band name is one of the most valuable assets a group can own. It can be extremely difficult to relinquish a band name and start all over again under a new moniker. Unfortunately, the loss of a band name can sometimes occur if a band fails to take the necessary precautions. Registration of your band name as a service mark is one of the best ways to retain your rights to a great name.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Apr 12, 2011, 07:58 PM

    U.S. Copyright Office - International Copyright
    rfguitar's Avatar
    rfguitar Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 13, 2011, 01:57 AM
    Thank you all above. That's really useful. The band name is Loose Change Theory and from the thread it seems that the reason I can't find them in the US copyright database is because band names can't be copyright only trademarked[service marked] My band is only very local to Kent in England, so I can hardly see how we could damage their name in any way. We will probably make a slight change to avoid any conflict, but can't do that immediately because we are publicised ahead until September. My only worry is that they try to sue us before then?
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Apr 13, 2011, 03:38 AM

    First, a trademark suit is expensive and takes time. So I would hardly worry about it. Have they simply sent you a cease and desist letter?
    rfguitar's Avatar
    rfguitar Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 13, 2011, 06:23 AM

    Thanks. But I have just received another email as follows:
    Well, I haven't heard anything from you so I guess we are at an impasse. I will contcat our lawyer and see how he wants to deal with this. I really wanted to work this out between us but I guess we have to go another way. Our lawyer will be in contact with you soon, I'm sure.......... It has only been one day since I sent my response to him. That is why I think it is some type of scam where he is making a situation to gain some money in some way??
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Apr 13, 2011, 07:43 AM

    I think it may be. Was the initial contact via e-mail only?

    I would respond asking him for proof that the name was "copyrighted". I would specifically use that word if that's what he used. As you have learned copyright is the wrong term and if he continues to use it, then you will know he has not trademarked the name.
    rfguitar's Avatar
    rfguitar Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 13, 2011, 08:38 AM

    The initial contact was on Facebook on my wall. Ok Thanks a lot for your help. I will let you know. Cheers.

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