One member of our band just dropped out and formed a competing band using the same name. If we continue to use the name, he can’t. Right?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
If there is no band agreement and the arrangement is informal, the right to the band name customarily stays with the band. Without a formal contract specifying who owns the band’s name, a member who is kicked out may form a new competing band with the same name. Once a band name dispute arises from an informal arrangement, a lawsuit must be filed for a court to determine who used the name first and which members were in the band when its names gained a “secondary meaning” (i.e., the public began recognizing the band by its name). If it can be proven that certain members were identified by the public as being in the band, the court can bar the use of band’s name by another individual or other competing group. To determine ownership, a court will inquire into who has artistic control over the band and for how long.
Under the “control” test, if none of band members have belonged to the band long enough, taken sufficient creative control, or written and produced a significant portion of the band’s songs, the right to a band’s name could very well belong to a producer or manager that has done so. The name of band may also be voluntarily assigned to a producer or manager. However, if such a non-member owns the band’s name, he/she may only validly transfer the name if the original groups’ style and “good will” is retained in any newly formed group.
(Reprinted with permission of Ruben Salazar, Esq.)