Over this last year I’ve noticed a ’strange’ trend (if that’s what it is), bands who share their name with other bands! A typical example would be, a new, start-up band (band B) who choose and use a band’s name that already exists; meaning, the name is being used (and maybe owned) by another band (band A). Neither band seems to care! It gets worse, band A may not even own the domain name when it IS available - how odd and careless is that? Band B doesn’t own it either! They’ve both just got FaceSpace addresses.
To me, the message these bands are shouting is clear, "We don’t expect to progress and succeed. We are going to fail." It’s exactly the same as hanging out an under construction banner on your website; you may as well say Band In Difficulty. Band A is not protecting their band’s name, band B don’t care, they just LOVE the name and they Are going to use it. This is all SO un-fast-food-restaurant-like, try opening a cafe called Maccy D’s!
As soon as one of the bands becomes more successful, maybe they get signed, the shit will hit the fan because money gets involved. The ill-prepared band normally loses the fight, but that may not be the more successful band.
It’s quite easy to avoid those nasty emails and future painful & expensive litigation:
- Pick a unique, short and memorable name for your band and check it out by:
- typing it into the search engines, e.g., "Your Band Name", "YourBandName". Also try searching with the ’suffix’ band and music at the end.
- seeing if the URL and MySpace is available, YourBandName.com/.co.uk/etc. and myspace.com/YourBandName.
- finding out if it’s already been registered @ Bandname.com (there’s a one-off registration fee of $15.00 (£9.94))
- seeing if it’s already been trade marked @ UK Patent Office - Trade Marks and USA Patent and Trademark Office
- Try Name Pistol a band name generator, to help find a name!
- If all is O.K. and even if you don’t have a website, Buy the URL (use search box below). Get the FaceSpace, register at Bandname.com, Trade Mark it, make a mini E.P. (name on cover art) and get some business cards printed (keep all the receipts).
What happens if your band’s name IS being used by another band either as a trading name, as a domain name or both?
- Check out your own position and establish who has the right to use the name - this could be as simple as who started to use the name first!
- Send the offending band a Cease and Desist letter/email.
- Try negotiating with the other party (seek professional legal advice - maybe expensive!) - Independent Music Law Advice can represent you and deal with all your legal issues?