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Thread: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

  1. #1
    MoBeach Guest

    Default List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    I was searching around the web for lists of copyrighted band names because my band is going to change it's name before we get any further along. I found one list but so many popular names were missing from it I don't think it's a very serious list. Is there a place I can search, or is there a master list some place?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoBeach View Post
    I was searching around the web for lists of copyrighted band names because my band is going to change it's name before we get any further along. I found one list but so many popular names were missing from it I don't think it's a very serious list. Is there a place I can search, or is there a master list some place?
    Google it. That's the way I check for things like this. Also try <bandname>.com to see if the URL is already taken. These days there's no point having a bandname whose URL points to someone else. Register it even if you don't plan on using it yet. You can always post a simple single web page with your contact information. Alternatively you could set up one of those free blogs and forward the URL to it.
    Mix Opinions and Audio Mastering by iqi616 http://iqi616.com

  3. #3
    MoBeach Guest

    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    I've googled names I've come up with, then of course there's the myspace/facebook pages you find with bands using that name but it gives you no idea if the name is copyrighted or not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    2,290

    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    Hey Mo,

    The tip on Googling various names and URL's, and reserving a URL is a great one.

    BUT, as to "copyrighted" band names, there aren't any. Technically, band names would be either Service Marks or Trade Marks; TM is generally reserved for products, and service businesses use SM.

    Getting a real SM is expensive, and you might need a patent/IP lawyer. One way to "poor man's register" your name, is to just be using it before anyone else is... Especially if you already have the URL that is so important to having a name these days.

    One way to lay claim to your new name would be to register it locally/regionally instead. If you're going to be playing out in your local area, you probably want to go to your county administrative offices and register a DBA. This can be done as an individual, so you don't need a corp., LLC, partnership or whatever. The added benefit is that if the band breaks-up, members quit, etc., you personally will still own the name.

    In my area, a DBA ("Doing Business As") certificate is very inexpensive, and application can be accomplished in a single afternoon downtown. This will allow you to open a business bank account, take and write checks in the band name, and all that good stuff.

    After securing this, you can see how far you want to go with the national registration thing... It may not be necessary. Even if a band came out with your same name, and put out a CD (provided this is prove-ably after you had it, and had it registered as a DBA), you could file a local suit against them for "restraint of trade"/false advertising (people in your area would be confused and think that the CD was your band). Bands don't want to deal with this, and record labels want to deal with it even less, so they'd be inclined to just leave you the name altogether.

    A personal story-- I had used a name for a Latin band I used to have, and I wanted to use that name for my Blues band. This was quite a few years ago. Coincidentally, and with no malice whatsoever, another band in another city in my state was using the same/similar name. Even though I had been using it a long time, and had invested some money in promotion, they already had the URL. In the end, this meant that I was the one that had to change my name. And it was so out-of-the-ordinary that I thought _for sure_ that I was in the clear!

    Check out a county DBA registration in your area, then get that URL set aside asap...

    GJ
    Last edited by Gregg Juke; February 16th, 2011 at 06:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoBeach View Post
    I've googled names I've come up with, then of course there's the myspace/facebook pages you find with bands using that name but it gives you no idea if the name is copyrighted or not.
    As others have said, it's a trademark issue but as far as I'm concerned there's no point using a name that someone else is using whether it is trademarked or not - it'll only cause trouble down the road and the more you've invested in a name, the more you'll lose. It'll also be more difficult to gain the accounts you need on the networking sites and it will confuse and upset your fans.
    Last edited by iqi616; February 16th, 2011 at 09:52 PM.
    Mix Opinions and Audio Mastering by iqi616 http://iqi616.com

  6. #6
    MoBeach Guest

    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg Juke View Post
    Hey Mo,

    The tip on Googling various names and URL's, and reserving a URL is a great one.

    BUT, as to "copyrighted" band names, there aren't any. Technically, band names would be either Service Marks or Trade Marks; TM is generally reserved for products, and service businesses use SM.

    Getting a real SM is expensive, and you might need a patent/IP lawyer. One way to "poor man's register" your name, is to just be using it before anyone else is... Especially if you already have the URL that is so important to having a name these days.

    One way to lay claim to your new name would be to register it locally/regionally instead. If you're going to be playing out in your local area, you probably want to go to your county administrative offices and register a DBA. This can be done as an individual, so you don't need a corp., LLC, partnership or whatever. The added benefit is that if the band breaks-up, members quit, etc., you personally will still own the name.

    In my area, a DBA ("Doing Business As") certificate is very inexpensive, and application can be accomplished in a single afternoon downtown. This will allow you to open a business bank account, take and write checks in the band name, and all that good stuff.

    After securing this, you can see how far you want to go with the national registration thing... It may not be necessary. Even if a band came out with your same name, and put out a CD (provided this is prove-ably after you had it, and had it registered as a DBA), you could file a local suit against them for "restraint of trade"/false advertising (people in your area would be confused and think that the CD was your band). Bands don't want to deal with this, and record labels want to deal with it even less, so they'd be inclined to just leave you the name altogether.

    A personal story-- I had used a name for a Latin band I used to have, and I wanted to use that name for my Blues band. This was quite a few years ago. Coincidentally, and with no malice whatsoever, another band in another city in my state was using the same/similar name. Even though I had been using it a long time, and had invested some money in promotion, they already had the URL. In the end, this meant that I was the one that had to change my name. And it was so out-of-the-ordinary that I thought _for sure_ that I was in the clear!

    Check out a county DBA registration in your area, then get that URL set aside asap...

    GJ
    Thanks for all the info, so it sounds like I should start up a band website once I settle on a name. I'll check into that DBA thing as well.

  7. #7

    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    I googled a name that I've been thinking of using.

    There's some guy using it for his profile name on Facebook and Myspace. He also added Inc. at the end of the name. He doesn't play music but he's involved in some kind of snow mobiling club...they sell t-shirts and maybe some other things.

    I wonder if I could still use the name?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2,290

    Default Re: List of copyrighted/protected band names?

    Zed,

    If it's a non-competing business or organization, you _should_ be fine. That is the standard on the local business/DBA application process here.
    Not sure about trademark infringement though, that's one for an attorney in that line of work. If it's a national or international organization or business of any kind, you may want to steer clear anyway, even if their use has nothing to do with music...

    I have a friend who has a friend in a semi-famous band. The band is probably more famous for the lawsuit that they endured than they are for their music. The band name was once the same as a particular brand of green gelatin put out by a certain international food conglomerate. They may even have had Bill Cosby as a spokesperson at one time ...

    Long story short, even though there was never any real "restraint of trade" issue, as people were certainly never going to mistake this group's CD's for the other manufacturer's food product, the company with the deep-pockets was able to put enough pressure on the band to make them change their name.

    GJ

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