Okay, y'all ... remember that old TV show called "Name That
Well, I could not wait a full week to get this one out because,
not only is it so important, but it is, in fact, vital and can get you involved * very * quickly in a lawsuit, which could be
financially devastating to your career.
Plus, as I would have typically published this article on this
coming Friday, I am otherwise headed to Houston this weekend
to record my new single titled, "Vampire Love." 🙂
But, getting back to the main point, if you have become a
successful independent band, and just happened to have the
same name as a band that had the name before you, you can
be legally forced to pay back all those royalties and sales
profits, in addition to an incredible amount of damages. This
little pleasant process is known as a lawsuit.
Okay, Kenny, what are you hammering about NOW?
I'm very glad you asked because there is an increasingly big
problem with successful bands being legally forced to change
their names because they were * lazy * and did not bother
to thoroughly check to see if another band had the name first.
They have become victims of the "It can not happen to us"
theory. In fact, not only can it happen to you, if you become
successful, it * will * happen to you.
That's right ... if you have managed to assess a small fortune
in royalties, and have not conducted a trademark search on
your band's name, look out! Because, the chances are great
that a less than successful band is waiting on you, figuratively speaking, just around the corner. And, all this less than successful band has to do in order to turn your day trading into a nightmare, is simply prove that it had the name before you.
And, if you happen to stay in the Third Ward district of one
of my beloved hometowns (Houston, Texas) and, particularly,
near McGowen or Scott streets, one of these bands could be
waiting on you, literally, and usually after dark wielding a
Lone Star-studded machete.
But, I'm not here to discuss geography ... I am here, however,
to discuss topography ... and, specifically, the topography of
your music career.
Several years ago, during one of my stints as a broadcast radio
host, my then business partner and I were considering starting
a record label, and were interviewing a very nice vocal group
who music we had been playing on our station, for our label's
However, the group's name (sometimes as hindsight) simply
seemed like a name that might already be in existence. Lo and
behold, after searching the 'Net, I discovered a similar group
with the same name, that had been in existence much longer,
as well as had a couple of releases out.
The group that we were considering signing has now folded
because they were so disturbed and were so in love with the
name, and simply could not move on to another. I guess that's
why they call it the Blues.
Now, I'm betting that, as a result of reading this, a good
number of you who are in bands will find tonight's sleep a bit of a disconcerting effort, and for that I am truly sorry. 🙁 But, it is my civic and patriotic duty to be the bearer of bad news if it helps protect your career.
Ever heard the phrase, "This is going to hurt me a lot more than it's going to hurt you?" Well, this is not one of them times.
At the very least, if a trademark search is not within your
budget at the moment (around $ 300- $ 400), at least, register
your name at BandName.com or BandRegister.com.
And, much success to your getting "legalized."
Note: To see how far the lack of proper registration of your
band's name can escalate, take a look at some popular name
artists who found out the hard way, so to speak, and what
you may recognize below.
Black Sabbath - they were originally a cover band called
EARTH. The band saw Boris Karloff's 1963 horror movie "Black
Sabbath "one night and were inspired to call their first original song" Black Sabbath. "They found out at a gig that there was another band called" Earth, "so they changed their name to BLACK SABBATH.
Blink-182 - They were originally called BLINK, but were forced
to change their name because a techno band from Ireland was
already called that. 182 does not actually mean anything. The
band has helped start rumors about 182 like: Al Pacino said
"f - k" 182 times in Scarface, Al Pacino said "f - k" 182 times in "The Godfather", etc.
Testament is a North American thrash metal music group from
California. Being one of the most influential American thrash
metal bands, while recording their first album, the band was
forced to change its name to Testament because another band
held a copyright to the name, "The Legacy."