Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Potentially Interesting Interaction with the Trademark Laws. What happens when the trademark is owned by someone that was not an original member of the band? Reuters reports that "Supremes' Wilson aims to knock out the knockoffs." From the article:
The singer wants once and for all to protect the legacies -- and livelihoods -- of the Supremes, Platters and other legendary groups from their knockoff counterparts. To date, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and North Dakota have passed into law the Truth in Music Advertising Act that Wilson promotes as chairwoman of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame's artist board.

The act stipulates that if a performer was not part of the original recording group, that person is prohibited from booking and performing concerts and club appearances under that name. Authorities can issue fines of up to $50,000.


Dan T. said...

How, exactly, does the law define the "original personnel" of a band? The band's members may change many times over the course of the band's history. Pete Best was once the drummer for the Beatles, after all.

ratatosk said...

The text of the Truth in Music Advertising Act can be found at: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/ba/2006HB-05801-R000224-BA.htm

Most relevant to your query is the following...

"The prohibition does not apply when:

1. the performing group owns the federal service mark registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office,"

And to respond to Dan T., the definitions in the act leave something to be desired, but it seems that if you've ever recorded under the name of the band and not "abandoned" the group name, you're allowed to use the name as a performing group.