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Music Artists With Same Name

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by Flawperhaps, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. Flawperhaps

    Flawperhaps Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm getting ready for my first release, and am wondering if I can have the same name of an existing band.
    The name is exactly the same and they're on a decent label, but they're in a different genre and I don't see their name trademarked.

    Any insight?
    Thanks guys
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A person "CAN" do most anything, if the person so desires.

    For example, one person can shoot another person, if he/she possesses a loaded firearm, aims it at the "target", and the ability to apply a few pounds of trigger pressure to the firearm's trigger.

    However, the ability to do something doesn't mean what the person does is legal.

    Let's examine how the same name applies to actors.
    In their world, no two actors are allowed to use the exact same name as the other, IF both belong to SAG (one of their unions/guilds).

    Now, back to your question about duplicate band names.
    It is possible to copyright the design of a band logo, the band name itself is not subject to copyright.
    Band names, however, can be protected under trademark law.
    Band names allow the consumer to distinguish one band's music and identity from another band's identity.

    I suggest you simply create a name unique to your band's identity, don't risk violating someone's trademark or common use of a term.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Sure, as long as you don't mind giving the other band every nickel you ever make using their name.

    They have had trademark protection since they first started using that band name. That it isn't registered doesn't give them any less protection.

    Gee, did you copy somebody else's work like you want to copy a band's name?
     
  4. Flawperhaps

    Flawperhaps Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well, this sucks.
    They're an older band and they didn't have a spotify when I first searched the name and now I have a logo and everything :(. Oh well. Thank you so much for your response!
     
  5. Flawperhaps

    Flawperhaps Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A genre is a type of music. So if they're in a different genre, my music couldn't be similar.
     
  6. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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  7. Flawperhaps

    Flawperhaps Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Haha wow; thanks man, I appreciate it
     
  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Really? No artist has ever crossed in to a different genre?
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You have the ability to do anything you are capable of doing.

    You are free to ignore the information people share with you, or heed it.

    You've asked your question, now you're free to do whatever you wish to do, only you will bear the burden of the consequences.

    There's no need to debate, "what if this", "what if that", etc...

    Choose wisely, as our actions have consequences.
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Can you? Of course. Why would you want to?

    Not sure what "decent label" might mean.

    Given that "trademark" is not properly used as a verb, I'm going to assume you mean that, when you did a search for federal trademark registrations, you didn't see anything. Is that what you meant?

    Aside from my question about why you'd want to have the same name as an established artist in another genre, you need to understand that one can have a trademark and trademark rights without having federally registered the mark. Do you want to release whatever it is that you're planning to release and then get sued for trademark infringement? Given that you have knowledge of the existence of the established artist prior to your release, I can assure you that wouldn't go well for you.

    You might find the story of a band called Dream Theater to be instructive. In case you don't know, Dream Theater is probably the biggest name in the progressive heavy metal genre. The band was formed in Boston in 1985 and was originally called Majesty. The band was gearing up to release its first album when they found out some band in California was using the name. I don't know what style of music that band played, and I don't think anyone has ever heard of them other than as part of this story. Nevertheless, the band had to and did change its name and has now sold over 12 million albums, received two Grammy nominations, etc., etc. The moral of the story: having to change your name isn't the end of the world.
     
    army judge and justblue like this.
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Come up with a new name. Even with human names you can have problems. I have a niece who is a mildly successful actress and musical performer. Unfortunately, there are others with the same first and last name, so professionally she always inserts her middle name in. Even with that, she has a section of her website of "people who aren't me."
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Doesn't matter. Music is music. It's the brand that counts. As for picking a new name, you've heard of Michael Keaton, the actor? He changed his name from his birth name Michael Douglas because there was already an actor named Michael Douglas. Keaton hasn't done too badly with the name change.
     
  13. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't a choice for Michael Keaton to do it. Most movie actors, including both Keaton and Douglas, are members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Under a longstanding SAG rule, no SAG member may have the same professional name as another actor. So if someone else already uses the name of someone new to the SAG, the new guy/gal must select a different name. My understanding is that the current procedure is that the SAG applicant needs to submit three names he or she would be ok with using in the event another already has that name.
     
  14. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    And if you're a lawyer named, Vincent Gambini...
     

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