General Question

emergence's avatar

If there is a label using the name I want for my band name, will that be a potential branding issue, legally?

Asked by emergence (213points) April 9th, 2010

Thinking way ahead on this one! But I want to avoid conflict down the road, assuming I’ll eventually achieve a level of success that would make this potentially an issue. The band name I have in mind is apparently the name of a label, they are an indie music label that seems to be pretty successful. Is there potential legal conflicts in this? Regarding branding or something? Thanks!!

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15 Answers

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Yes. Even if the indie label goes out of business and is no longer copyrighted (assuming the label has been copyrighted- if not, ignore my yes) they could still potentially bring a lawsuit.

emergence's avatar

Thank you! Bummer. So is there a way to check if they have a copyright? Though I imagine they do. If they don’t, could I then copyright it for myself and not worry about it? Or would that be a sort of asshole move?

Keysha's avatar

Actually, if that label is posted anywhere, or used, it has what is considered a U.S. copyright. It may not be a registered one, but it is one, nonetheless. So find a new name.

emergence's avatar

I see, sort of like if I write a song it’s automatically copyrighted even if I haven’t registered it. Well, thanks for the advice! I’m glad I thought about this before hand!! It would be a major bummer to build momentum for yourself then have to change your name THEN!!!

sarahjane90's avatar

If they are a somewhat (successful) lable I would assume they are copyrighted, so yes it is safe to assume you would encounter conflict down the road.

filmfann's avatar

In the 1960’s a terrific horn based rock group named the Chicago Transit Authority was forced to change their name to Chicago.
However, the group The Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra was able to keep his name, because he said it was satyrical, which is protected under law.

john65pennington's avatar

Here is a good example of a situation that might apply to your question…............

Everyone is familiar with the game show The Price Is Right, correct?

There is a small tote the note used car lot in a small town in Kentucky with the same name. The Price Is Right. i assume this refers to low prices on the used cars on the lot.

I have not seen any evidence where the tv game show is going to sue the used car lot, just because they have the same name.

To be on the safe side, why not email the company and get their permission to use the name for your band? once you have an okay email from them, i think you would be pretty safe in going ahead with using the same name.

Better to be safe, than sorry.

emergence's avatar

@EmpressPixie i keep seeing you composing and changing your mind, I’m really curious what you have to say!! :)

@john65pennington good point, it’d only be a problem if they had a problem with it. and excellent idea, i may as well email them and see what they say! worth a shot!

@filmfann thanks for sharing, it’s only one word, but perhaps i could add a word or find another word for the same concept.

thx all! lurve!

davidbetterman's avatar

I believe it depends on which State you reside and the laws of that State…and how well known the brand is on the already established company.

You should check with a lawyer.

mrrich724's avatar

Can we compare this to the issue Apple computer had with Apple the label? Didn’t they both get to keep their names?

emergence's avatar

Interesting, I remember reading about that. If I remember correctly there was some sort of settlement in that case, with Apple.

Silence04's avatar

Your issue would involve the trademark more than anything. Is the trademark still active or is it dead?

emergence's avatar

Trademark, ok. I assume active, as they currently are in business?


Silence04's avatar

You could opporate and perform under the name, however their trademark could prevent you from using the name in trade (CDs, posters, shirts, etc), as long as they feel it’s infringing on their mark or tradedress.

emergence's avatar

Ah, hence the name ‘trade’ ‘mark’ I see! Thank you!

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