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Rock band as a trademark: the owners of the right to the name (analysis of the practice on resolution of the problems of coincidence in the intellectual law model “trademark a band name” / Рок-группа как товарный знак: обладатели прав на название (анализ практики по решению проблем совпадения в интеллектуально-правовой модели «Trademark A Band’s Name»)
Ключевые слова: рок-группа, сценические имя, право на название, музыкальный бизнес, индустрия звукозаписи, коммуникации, альбом, музыкальный проект, право интеллектуальной собственности, судебный спор
Дата направления в редакцию: 11-04-2016
Дата рецензирования: 11-04-2016
Дата публикации: 11-04-2016
Abstract. In this article, the rock band as a trademark is being analyzed from the systemic point of view for the first time in the Russian scientific literature. The author carefully examines the category “right to the band name” as an intrinsic part of the metasystem of musical communications. A special attention is given to the examination of the rock band within the dynamics of the internal and external communications with presentation in form of a special hyperstructure with horizontal and vertical connections within the sociocultural space. The chronological boundaries cover the period from 1965 to 2015 (50 years). As a result of the conducted research, the author concludes that the dynamics of the intellectual law model “trademark a band name” carries not only musical legal characteristics, but also the peculiarities of the historical time and regional-national specificity. All theoretical claims and conclusions are based on and illustrated by the examples from the history of musical industry and the practice of rock music. One of the corner stones of innovations is the statement of the final thesis on the fact that there are various versions and schools on the use of the “right to the band name” that have formed in the musical industry, which can be presented in the form of a “mosaic system” that does not always act according to legal precepts equally understood by all subjects of these legal relations (including the so-called “random coincidental band names”).
Keywords: musical project, album, communications, recording industry, music industry, right to the name, stage name, rock band, intellectual right, litigation
Introduction in the form of a preamble
Our previous work was dedicated to the memory of an American guitarist Tommy Bolin …The author did not plan to continue to systemically right requiems, but this decision was changed. The time mercilessly moves forward. From now on, each of the following publications will be dedicated to the memory of late rock musicians, who were not as well-known to the broad audience during their lifetime (although they were known and always valued by the experts). But this gap needs to be closed. The young generation of rock music enthusiasts should know not only the leaders (the so-called “rock legends”), but also those who were second cast, creating a strong base.
This work is dedicated to the memory of the untimely passed Scottish rock musician James Stewart Bain, more commonly known as Jimmy Bain (1947-2016), who found fame in such notable bands as RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW, WILD HORSES, DIO and other equally as brilliant projects with participation of Philip Parris Lynott, Ian Hunter Patterson, Robert William Gary Moore, and others…For the millions of fans around the world he was and will always remain the MAESTRO with the capital “M”, who usually yielded to the lead singers in the rock industry, but without whose contribution this projects would certainly never happen. R.I.P.
The recording of rock music represents a diverse system of social, cultural, creative-technological legal and other connections. Within the Russian scientific knowledge this industry has been the subject of research of various sciences. There are many works of the Soviet and Russian scholars and experts that are dedicated to separate aspects of music recording: P. Grünberg, A. Zhelezny, E. Kornoukhov, Y. Kozyurenko, A. Likhnitsky, D. Ukhov, V. Yanin, and others. The legal regulation of relations emerging in the process of creation and use of audio-visual productions and musical soundtracks have been the subject of the research of M. Alistratova , O. Volkov , Y. Zvyagintseva , O. Kondakova , A. Radominova , O. Tuchkova , and several other Russian authors.
Moreover, musical production has been studied as an object of copyright laws , soundtracks were examined as an object of the right to intellectual property  and research was conducted on the problems of realization of copyrights to musical work in the contractual sphere . Today there are many various vector of legal support for the music industry. On one hand (the juridical) – the legal experts are lacking professional knowledge on music specificity of sound recording to determine the social mechanisms of the functionality of the legal culture in this area; on the other – music experts cannot adequately operate using one of the basic categories for the theory of legal culture such as legal fabric. The relevance of the topic of this work is substantiated by the legal uncertainty of the model “trade mark of band name”, presence of substantial contradictions in the practical solution to the issues of coinciding rock band names in the global music industry, and thus – incompleteness of the concept of legal regulation of the music industry with consideration of the specificity of all segments. The problemis aggravated by the spontaneousness of the creative component in rock bands as subjects of the music industry usually without priority consideration of the legal factors in the dynamics of the development of the models of musical projects. Thus, the solution of the resulting issues lies first and foremost on the musical lawyers as a new corporate coalition, one of the segments of which is located in the intellectual law sector, while the other in the musical expertise.
Rock band as a trademark
Corporate brand is the overall visual uniqueness of a specific recording company through a set of science and symbols. In the musical industry, it is the perception of the record label as a unified whole, which includes its name, quality of the soundtrack products and recording services, mastering and promotion of the releases. As practice shows, the PR effect of a successful visual production can spread beyond the boundaries of the sound recording company. The rock band, or rather its name and products with a certain name, is the trademark (brand).
One of the types of collective performance of popular musical compositions during the Soviet era was the vocal-instrumental ensembles (VIE). During the Soviet era the term “VIE” was practically a synonym to the notion of “musical band”. This term was occasionally used even in association with foreign bands (all records produced during the 1970’s by the “Melody” company with recordings of foreign rock bands – BEATLES, ROLLING STONES, and others – were all produced with the heading of “vocal-instrumental ensemble”). Beginning with the mid-1980’s the abbreviation of VIE began to be associated exclusively with the Soviet rock, pop, and folk bands.Various regions established their own names: in Ukraine – the term “gurt”, in Czech Republic and Slovakia – “capella” and “skupina”, in Poland – “komanda”, in Latin American countries – “banda”. All these names are similar (contextually) to the notion “ensemble”. In the English-language musical literature we traditionally see the terms “rock group” and “rock band”. A group playing in bars, clubs, rock cafes, etc. that counts on an unpretentious audience that is usually inebriated, is referred to as “bar band”. A number of foreign rock collectives started (and in some cases, unfortunately ended) their career in the music show business in the status of a “bar band”. In USSR, the analogous form was considered the “restaurant ensemble”.
The central member of the musical band, in the rock band most often a leading vocalist (but not necessarily), who represents the “face” of the band is referred to as a frontman. In the history of rock music the frontmen were not always the leaders (or actual leaders) of the corresponding collectives.
For example, David Byron, being one of the most vivid frontmen, was never the leader of the URIAH HEPP did not even learn to play a single musical instrument. In a Latin jazz-rock band SANTANA is of course the “man with the guitar”, i.e. Carlos Santana, despite the presence of worthy vocalists. In a popular Soviet VIE ZEMLYANE (Rus. EARTHLINGS) for a while the frontmen seemed to be the solo0guitarist Igor Romanov, who only lip-synced the “Trava u doma” and a number of other early 1980’s hits (the actual singer was Sergei Skachkov, who at the time was on the background playing keys). This formula was thought-up by the management (the executive V. V. Kiselev). In this case it would be logical to divide the category “frontman” into two subclasses – actual and symbolic frontmen.
A singer that accompanies the lead vocalist is referred to as a “backing vocalist” (or backup singer, or background singer). During a recording of rock albums the part of the backing vocalist is often carried out by the same person who sings the main vocal part. In general sense, the “backing vocalist” refers to a secondary role, but during a recording the backing vocalist can be the actual lead vocalist, who may also record his own solo albums. At the “live” (concert) performances the role of a backing vocalist is transferred over to the members of the musical band or other specially invited singers, or it is carried out using overlaying soundtracks. The backing vocalist is usually present for the fairly brief parts of the compositions and doubles the lead vocalist. In addition to the main voice, the backing vocalist can also serve as a contrast. In the history of rock music the most vivid example of this contrast was with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes at the times of DEEP PURPLE – they formed a full-fledge front of a vocal attack, successfully complementing each other , and trading lines of texts at the concerts, including during performance of the songs of the “Gillan” period (DP Mk II) have enriched the hard rock with such double-vocal “knowhow”; as a matter of fact, on the records DP Mk III-IV Glenn Hughes was signified as a “backing vocalist” (which he himself considered to be “an improper and insulting term” ), rather than a full-fledged “vocal”. The compromise was reached by the management in absence of the prefix “lead”.
The prototype of the format of a rock band was the accompanying instrumental collective with a lead singer. The examples such as THE BEATLES (UK) and THE BEACHBOYS (USA) have significantly influenced the understanding of the format of the rock band during the 1960’s and the very architype of the rock band.
In the world history of rock music there are several known types of rock bands, classified by a number of bases (“power-rock-trio”; “beat quartet”; quartet with a singing guitarist; quintet with a “free” vocalist and two guitarists; sextet with one additional musician on any instrument; “rock orchestra”, and others), but the structuring of the typology of rock bands remains unfinished. The number of permanent members in a typical rock bandconsists of 4-5 people, less often of 3 or 6 members. From the perspective of communication, the typical rock band consists of lead vocalist, solo or rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist (or organist). Sometimes the functions of the solo guitarist and rhythm guitarist are split between two or even three (EAGLES, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, and others) people. In some rock bands it is the other way around, one of the aforementioned instruments can be completely absent (for example, in THE DOORS there was no bass guitarist, the ELP did not have a solo guitarist, etc.). Such absences are generally compensated by guest musicians during the concerts or studio recordings, or by the use of other instruments (synthesizers). But nevertheless, when the specialists state that “the album was recorded in a classical format of a trio” , it is presumed that it is a work of three musical instruments – guitar, bass, and drums (in other words, without involvement of keys, wind, or other instruments). As a matter of fact, each professional drummer must work in pair with their personal “drum technician”. This communication carries an important role for the individual tuning of the drum set .
At times, there are atypical versions of a rock band structure, where the drummer is the lead vocalist – for example “Iron Man” (Est. Raudmees)Gunnar Graps from MAGNETIC BAND, Don Henley from EAGLES, Don Brewer from GRAND FUNK, as well as other combinations.
In the jazz-rock groups (CHICAGO, BLOOD, SWEAT&TEARS, and others) there is always a brass section. Based on the stylistic orientation of the creative work of one or another rock band, the permanent members can include: flute (JETHRO TULL, FOCUS, and others), saxophone (COLLOSEUM, SUPERTRAMP, and others), violin (KANSAS, CURVED AIR, ELO, and others), harmonica (John Mayall BLUESBREAKERS, and others), and various ethnic instruments. Polish virtuoso Michał Jelonek (a musician with academic background, who for a while played with the veterans of Polish rock, including with Maryla Rodowicz) uses a violin in hard music. He proposed to more actively use the notion of “rock violin” in the music lexicon . One of the founding fathers of the “rock violin doctrine” is the original violinist from ELO and post-electric projects (ELO Part II, ORKESTRA, THE ORCHESTRA) Michael Kaminski, who was the frontman-violinist of the specialized “side project” with the appropriate title VIOLINSKI during 1977-1984.
The changes in the members of rock bands in musical literature referred to as “Band Regrouping”. Creation of a model of optimal collaboration between the band members is one of the core socio-communicational issues in this sector of the music industry.
The sociodynamics of the rock band activity usually consists of several stages (three mandatory – creation [A], reaching success [B], popularity period [C]; and three optional – changes in the composition [D], dissolution [E], regrouping [F], which form into a certain system. But at each of this stages can emerge conflicts that as a rule carry a socio-legal character. The so-called “optional stages” (such as the choice and dynamics of the usage of the band name) are characterized by a special level of strife.
Analysis of the practice on resolution of the issues of coincidental names of rock bands
The right to the name signifies the right to use or to allow usage of the work under the real name of the author, pseudonym or without designation of the name, i.e. anonymously .
One of the factors of a successful promotion of phonographic product for every rock band is its original title (name).
This aspect, referred to in the rock management as “Trademarking the Band name” requires a special legal protection, since it often leads to confrontation in the music business, when there are several music groups (projects) exist under the same name, or one of the former members of a popular rock band that has dissolved, not having the rights to the specific name under which the band has earlier reached popularity, creates a new project with the same brand (or with minor changes) . For example, one of the most promising and talented hard-blues rock bands of the 1990’s BLINDSIDE BLUES BAND (the founder, producer, and the great leader Mike Onesko) throughout their history have transformed their “trademark” several times – from MIKE ONESKO’S BLINDSIDE BLUES BAND, MIKE ONESKO’S BLUES BAND, and MIKE ONESKO’S GUITAR ARMY to the return to the original name (for absolutely various reasons). As we can see, parallel to the questions of obtaining the name in the recording industry, there are issues of the loss of right to the name and renaming of the band. At the same time, from the position of the intellectual property law, the latter can either be voluntary or compulsory.
Let us use the example of the emerging copyright issues with the name of DEEP PURPLE. On July 19, 1976 the DEEP PURPLE manager Rob Cooksey officially announced that “the band will no longer perform or record under this name” . But starting from May 17 to August 19 of 1980, the leading vocalist of the original DEEP PURPLE members Rod Evans and lesser-known musicians decided to perform a series of concerts in Mexico, United States, and Canada under the name DEEP PURPLE (on some posters there was a variant of the name with the addition of NEW). The project caused uproar among the audience who bought tickets to the “fake” DEEP PURPLE. Moreover, they were performing songs not only from the original band (to which Evans could probably attempt to claim rights), but also later songs which were performed by the new lead vocalists (first Ian Gillen, then David Coverdale). The song “Must Just Take Your Life” (1974) Evans announced as “the song from our album Burn”.On August 18, 1980 the managers of the real DEEP PURPLE (although there was officially no project under that name at that time) Tony Edwards and John Coletta took out an ad with the “LA Times” stating that: “Blackmore, Coverdale, Gillen, Glover, Hughes, Lord, and Paice will not perform at the “Long Beach Arena” tomorrow on August 19, 1990” .Later, the attorneys representing the DEEP PURPLE management have won the ruling that banned any future performance by this phony band, they received a judgement for the unlawful use of the DEEP PURPLE name in the amount of $672,000 (by some sources – $700,000). As the sole organizer of the fake band and one who received all of the proceeds from the performances, Evans was the only one who was sued, but since he could not pay-up at the time of the judgement, the so-called “original” lead singer lost his royalties from the sales of the first three albums of DEEP PURPLE . One of the key causes for such court decision was the fact that the band found world fame not in the first “original” cast, but in the second (DP Mk II), which is considered “classic” – it was with Gillen, Blackmore, Glover, Lord, and Paice that the band gained its worldwide popularity and recorded their best albumsIn Rock (1970), Fireball (1971), and Machine Head (1972), which became the “classics of hard rock”.
In the name change of the post-projects of famous rock bands we can clearly see a trend of continuity. Rock experts still debate which of the incarnations – the early “British” or the late “American” – have more rights to the name WHITESNAKE. One of the original members of WHITESNAKE Micky Moody has left the band in 1984, since the label “Geffen” decided to reveal Coverdale to America, putting together a new version of WHITESNAKE. Since that time and until now, Moody continues the early “snake” mission in multiple post-projects, keeping the “snake” brand in every one of the new bands (with the exception of THE MOODY MARSDEN BAND – auth. O. S.) such as THE SNAKE, COMPANY OF SNAKES, M3 CLASSIC WHITESNAKE, and SNAKECHARMER. An important feature is that all of these collectives (except M3) not only toured, successfully exploiting the “classic repertoire of WHITESNAKE 1978-1984”, but also recorded albums with new music. Somewhat uncommon for the business model of the current market of soundrecording, but in the creation of SNAKECHARMER a big role was initially played by Martin Darvill – the manager of URIAH HEEP – another band, which was practically sharing the same “electoral space” with the future competitors for record sales; he invited the musicians into his studio and provided real help in the recording of two new tracks “Turn of the Screw” and “Smoking Gun” .
At the conception of the West German band LUCIFER’S FRIEND in 1970 were four German musicians – Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, Peter Hecht, and Joachim Reitenbach, as well as British rock singer John Lawton (LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS, URIAH HEEP, and others). The band’s style could be characterized as progressive hard rock, with elements of krautrock, heavy metal, and jazz fusion. In 1982, the official announcement was made on the dissolution of LUCIFER’S FRIEND. In the same year, after leaving ALCATRAZZ, a young ambitious Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen has formed his own band to record their debut album and wanted to call the band LUCIFER’S FRIEND . But the head office of “Polydor Records” categorically refused such duplication, since a band with the same name already existed (although by then the band has dissolved and the label had no rights to the name). In the end, Malmsteen named his band RISING FORCE, and in Marchof 1984 they recorded an album titled LP. As a matter of fact, for the recording of the band’s fourth albumOdyssey recorded in 1988, the RISING FORCE invited Joe Lynn Turner as the lead vocalist… But thirty years after the dissolution of LUCIFER’S FRIEND, the founder Peter Hesslein decided to regroup this project, recording the new musical material specifically with John Lawton. The recording also included bass guitarist Andreas Dicke and keyboardist Jogi Wichmann, who did not originally perform with the band. Some sources also point out the “guest” appearance by the drummers Curt Cress and Udo Dahmen, but the label does not reflect their names. In the end the album Sumo Grip was released in 1994 under the name LUCIFER’S FRIEND II featuring John Lawton. In 2014, there was a new intent to regroup this project. Three of the original veteran members of LUCIFER’S FRIEND took part in the “reunion” – Peter Hesslaine, John Lawton, Dieter Horns, as well as the official member of the LUCIFER’S FRIEND II featuring John Lawton – Jogi Wichmann.The place of Joachim Reitenbach, who died in 1974, was taken by the new musician – drummer Stephan Eggert. In 2015 the album Awakening was released as the record of the reunited legitimate LUCIFER’S FRIEND. The album presents the creative path of the band in form of the practically unchangedand replayed with the new hi-tech means their most significant works from 1970-1976, and 1981 (the so-called “Re-Working the Catalogue”, but the period of 1978-1980 with vocalist Mike Starrs and partial “reunion” of 1994 are not included in this compilation). The special interest present the four absolutely new songs, included in form of addition.
A special place in the history of rock music belongs to the unique mega project titled THE LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS (sometimes the names such as LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS & RHYTHM-ORCHESTRA and ORCHESTRA + CHORUS LES HUMPHRIES were used). This absolutely new and rather spectacular phenomenon in the rock music was created in 1969 by a British John Lesley Humphreys, former keyboardist of the West German band WONDERLAND. The source of inspiration and the prima example for the creation of the band was EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS. Having finished the work with the English pop-rock band THE MAGIC LANTERNS, Jimmy Bilsbury (it is he who co-authored one of the BONEY M’s most popular heats “Belfast”)practically became a co-founder with John Lesley Humphreys in creation of his “Singers”. Parallel with the main work in LHS, Lesley Humphreys and Jimmy Bilsbury produced a record predominantly with their songs and performed by them, which came out in 1972 under the title “Happy Day Singers”. This release can be classified as a one-time sister project. Overall, in the period from 1971 to 1975, the LHS members included John Lawton (LUCIFER’S FRIEND, later URIAH HEEP), Linda Thompson (later SILVER CONVENTION), Henner Hoier (former THE RATTLES), Liz Mitchell (later BONEY M.) and other less titled vocalists. During 1970’s LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS have sold more than 45 million records.
In 1991-1993 there was a first brief “reunion”, which included Lesley Humphreys, Jimmy Bilsbury, John Lawton, Enry David-Fascher, Christopher Yim, Victor Scott, Sheila McKinlay, Emily Woods-Jensen and three new musicians – Barbara Sexton, Gabi Stephanus, and Milena Mitrović.
In May 2007 the original band members along with new musicians (Chris Dakota, David Tobin, Jay Jay van Hagen, and Willi Meyer) form THE ORIGINAL SINGERS WITHOUT HUMPHRIES without the founder. This cast re-records the old hits of the LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS and adds a little bit of new musical material (“Boy Try to Run” and some others). In December 2007 Lesley Humphreys dies. In April of 2009, the former members of the original project Jürgen Drews, Tina Kemp-Werner, Judy Archer, Peggy Evers-Hartig, and Linda Uebelherr renewed their concerts under the name LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS REUNION, but with partial changes in the list of new performers (Ivonne Ballinas, Chele Aguilera, and Marvin Broadie). In January of 2011 the bands management decided to return to the original name, an idea which the co-founder of LHS Jimmy Bilsbury did not mind and in 2012 the new album Forever Young was released under THE LES HUMPHRIES SINGERS. During 2012-2013 new members have joined the band – Ricky Berger, Antoinette Kruger, and Sascha Kramer. In 2014 Patrick Simons have also joined the band along with two original members – Victor Scott and Malcom Magaron .
Separately we should also mention the so-called “post-King Crimson syndrome”, which gave rise to a slew of different post-versions of KING CRIMSON with various titles such as 21st CENTURY SCHIZOID BAND, ADRIAN BELEW POWER TRIO, KTU, STICK MEN, THE CRIMSON PROJEKCT, PROJEKCT SEVEN, FRIPP/TRAVIS, JAKSZYK/FRIPP/COLLINS (WITH LEVIN & HARRISON) , and others. The main goal of all these communicational morphs is an attempt to “find a new sound, invent a new harmonic language…try something that has never previously existed in rock music” . Robert Fripp periodically announces his retirement from the music industry, since over the last decade the artist and the label are only connected (according to him) by the “parasitic communications”.
A well-known (especially to former Soviet patrons of discothèques) the German project DSCHINGHIS KHAN legally and actually existed in the original cast from 1979 to 1984. In 2005 there was a partial reunion under the original brand, which consisted of three main performers of the original cast; two original members – drummer Leslie Mándoki, who principally refused to take part in the “reunion” and frontman Louis Hendrik Potgieter, who by then died of AIDS, were replaced by other musicians. An interesting fact as that in France, Australia, and few other countries the band name is spelled as GENGHIS KHAN. But that is not all. As it turns out, in the global rock history there are several music projects with the name GENGHIS KHAN, and most have various different English spelling (in the examples that were discovered it was usually one or two letter difference).
In 1970 the “Barclay” label produced the album Well Cut (which turned out to be the only one) of the Belgian progressive-hard rock band JENGHIZ KHAN. The album consisted of the following members: Tim Brean, Big Friswa, Pierre Raepsaet, Piero Kenroll, and Chris Tick. Prior to that Friswa played in TENDERFOOT KIDS and LAURÉLIE, while Brean later became the frontman of the band he founded THE TIM BREAN GROUP. The musical concept JENGHIZ KHAN in form of a multi-structural construct of the majority of compositions is maintained in the core of the early URIAH HEEP, and partially PAVLOV’S DOG; but both of these groups have achieved the deserved recognition later (former – approximately a year later, latter – after five years).
Years later in 2006 under the name DZJENGHIS KHAN was formed a hard trio consisting of Carson Binks, Jesse Thompson, and Mark Abboud, who played “alternative punk-stoner rock”. This project was created in San Francisco. In 2008 in Europe the album Gengis Khan Was a Rocker (catalogue number MDD81) was released, being recorded by an Italian band GENGIS KHAN consisting of Martin Castillo, Maurizio Leone, and Frank Leone in the style of classic “heavy metal”, which slightly resembled the standards of RUNNING WILD (while one track is recorded with Blaze Bayley, who from 1994 to 1999 was the frontman of IRON MAIDEN). Thus, at least one “GENGHIS KHAN” was formed prior to the conception of the German disco project, and two significantly later. However, there have not been any legal conflicts discovered relating to this issue. As we see it, in the music legal field the absence of the fact of violation of the “right to name” lies the combination of three causes: 1) the very name at its basis and in its nature represents a name of a famous historical persona; 2) in the names of the four music bands there are minimal differences in spelling of the words; 3)there is evident differences in the sub-genres (“HEEP rock”, “classic disco”, “classic heavy metal”, and “post-rock stoner”), which a priori minimizes presence of the motivation of intentional copying of the earlier brand for the purpose of gaining commercial interest. Nevertheless, we do not exclude the possibility of finding other versions of “Genghis Khans”.
Let us look at another variant of “coincidental similarity” of band names.
There isa well-known British disco band ERUPTION (prior to 1974 this electro-soul project was known as SILENT ERUPTION). But as it turns out, in the history of popular music there are two other musical collectives with the same name. The first is the German experimental kraut band with the same name ERUPTION that existed for a year and a half, the musicians of which (Conrad Schnitzler, Wolfgang Seidel, and Klaus Freudigmann) released one record in 1970 with recordings of compositions that were mostly based on free improvisation. The album contained seven tracks, all of which had no titles or any kind of markings. The second was the energetic Brits Darren Grant, Santi Rigolizio,Lee Colledge, and Ben White – the powerful hard ‘n’ heavy band under the brand ERUPTION have produced their debut album All Screwed Up in 2009.Thus, in the musical plane we have three complete opposites, between which in the communication aspect we cannot see any connection; and there are no legal issues between any of these parties.
Under the name FINCH there are also three completely different music groups: 1) A Dutch band FINCH, existed from 1974 to 1978, playing progressive jazz-rock, with most of the music written by the guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen. In 2012 Ad Wammes, who played in the FINCH from their second album until the dissolution of the band, with the vocalist and bass player Henk Hager (ex-DIESEL), revived one of the predecessors (pre-FINCH) – project MONTOYA; 2) Australian hard rock band FINCH performed under this brand form 1973 to 1978. Traces of this project to AC/DC – the main cast had the bass guitarist Mark Evans; 3) American post-hard rock band FINCH, formed in 1999, and with brief interruptions exists until present (in 2015 under the name Steel, Wood & Whiskey they produced an acoustic alternative rock album). In addition to that, there are several other music projects that incorporate the name “FINCH” in their title… As a result, along with the obvious stylistic difference (progressive jazz rock, hard rock, post-hardcore) we can see lack of legal issues pertaining to the original name.
Thus the analysis of the practice testifies to the fact that the basic original names of rock bands usually consist of one (for example, QUEEN, SLADE, and others), two (DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, and others), or three (QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, CREEDENCE, CLEARWATER REVIVAL, and others) words, and less often – four (MANFRED MANN CHAPTER THREE, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, and others). In the latter two cases there can be a parallel official or unofficial abbreviation (e.g. BRMC – BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, PFM – PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, and others), and can contain periods (such as C.C.S., B.T.O., etc) or not (ELO, UFO, etc.). But there are also exotic versions that contain a large number of speech components, including prepositions (e.g. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY, FRANKENSTEIN FRAG QUEENS FROM PLANET 13, and others). The use of “THE” in the name of the band is likely regulated not by the rules of the English language, but rather the tribute to the beat-tradition. Moreover, the same band in some cases can sometimes use this article, while in some cases leave it out (e.g. THE ROLLING STONES / ROLLING STONES). The exceptions are THE BEATLES and few similar bands, in which the use of the article is the strict rule of the brand and the trademark.
Since 1978 in U. S. the records of the French space rock band ROCKETS (the project exists since 1974) were produced by the “Tom N’ Jerry Records” with a strange name “Tom N’ Jerry’s Rockets” (in the French rock literature we can occasionally come across the name Claude LemoineROCKETS). The purpose for such “compulsory” rename made by the American label consisted in the separation from the Detroit rock ‘n’ roll band THE ROCKETS, which from 1972 to 1983 was active on the U. S. music market (in 2010 there was the “reunion” of this band that lasted a little over a year). Riding the wave of the ROCKETS success producers Claude Lemoine and Jean-Pierre Massiera revived their other space rock-disco project VISITORS that was originally formed back in 1974. Under the VISITORS brand in 1981 was produced a same-named record (from the formal legal perspective it would be logical to attribute this rather decent release to “reunion albums”). We should clarify that some of the members of the original 1974 VISITORS have joined the reassembled ROCKETS, while communicational discourse with the cast of the 1981 group was taking place via production-stylistic line. But that is not the end of the communicational correlation: the tracks “Terre Larbour” and “Flatwoods Story”, which were part of the VISITORS debut album in 1974, were also later recorded by the ROCKETS; first – in a similar but shortened version was included into the first LP discRockets (1976), while the second – in a renamed and remixed form entered the Pi 3,14 album (1981) as “Astro Storm”.
In the history of rock music there were other “Visitors”(American and Swedish rock bands, including one with the article – THE VISITORS), same as all kinds of “Rockets” – from the short-lived soft pop rock band with elements of folk rock (Danny Whitten, George Whitsell, Leon Whitsell, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, and Bobby Notkoff), brought together by producer Barry Goldberg, who in 1968 was able to produce the only record, to dance Non-Stop project Ricky & THE ROCKETSin style of “Stars on 45” with a compilation of famous rock ‘n’ rollers, from 1981 on a vinyl Rock ‘n’ Roll Disco. There are also many other forms of THE ROCKETS.
Today there are two groups with the base name GREAT WHITE. From 2006 to 2010 the GREAT WHITE undergone the uneasy process of recreating, and in 2011 Russell also created his own version, and in order to avoid confusion, first called it GREAT WHITE Featuring Jack Russell, but soon after renamed it to JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE.All possible legal issues with the name were resolved through out-of-court settlement.
Sometimes the names of the bands, albums, tracks, as well as other information on the covers of records (and later CD’s) contained all sorts of mistakes, both, in spelling and content.
Thus for example, the cover of the original version of URIAH HEEP’s Conquest album (1980) mistakenly lists the bass guitarist Trevor Bolder on the last track “It Ain’t Easy” as the lead vocalist (in reality, all of the songs in that album were recorded with the main vocalist John Sloman). Some record producers (usually the so-called “pirate labels”)make the grammatical errors on purpose. For example, the CD of STYX – Man of Miracle (1974) released in the late 1990’s by an unknown pirate label (judging by the fake catalogue number BCVLX 00014, most likely Russian or Japanese production), visually was practically indistinguishable from a brand name CD (“BMG” and “RCA”) if not for one “but” – on the side of the jewel case the name of the rock band was written in English and misspelled as STIX (which is a name of a French label that has nothing to do with this CD). As a matter of fact, after the “reunion” of STYX in 1995 there is still a dispute about the name in the country of this band: from the music law perspective what would be the most correct interpretation of the sign “Dennis DeYoung: the Music of Styx”?
Many of the similar combinations exist in the same plane (names of the groups, albums, compositions), as well as on different levels: coincidence of the name of a band with the name of the album of another band, name of the release of one performer with the name of the song of another band, etc. Thus for example, in the history of rock music there are two absolutely different albums with the title Women And Children First, between the release date of which there is the most rich and diverse rock decade – the debut (and seems to be the only) release of the classic rock project with elements of “hard psychedelic rock” from Wales ANCIENT GREASE (1970) and the third official album of the American hard ‘n’ heavy band VAN HALEN (1980). In many cases such coincidences merely provoke comments from the critics or negative feedback from the fans for lack of individuality, but at times also become the subject of legal conflicts and subsequent litigation.
For example, many communications in the recording industry of rock music is connected to the word “Killers”. Since 1992 Paul Di’Anno has worked with the band KILLERS, named after the second album of IRON MAIDEN (1981), in which he was the lead vocalist. We should note that the concert repertoire of KILLERS consisted predominately of compositions of IRON MAIDEN from the period of 1979-1981.
But if IRON MAIDEN could contend for the leadership in the title of their album (in 1982 KISS also named their album Killers, but it was one year later), the Di’Anno’s project certainly does not present an “original title”. In the history of rock music there is a fact that in 1972 there was a single record Good Bye by a band called THE KILLERS – one of the brightest Uruguayan rock projects of the early period (unfortunately, following the military overthrow, the band members had to leave the country.Later, there were few other music projects with similar name (plus multiple combinations with the use of this word). Moreover, compositions with the name “Killers” exists in the repertoires of such performers (in addition to the aforementioned ones) as TYGERS OF PAN TANG, PANTERA, DREAM THEATER, MOTÖRHEAD, TISARIS, DEFIANCE, and others.
There are also other examples. The fact that the sole owner of the name ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA (ELO) is Jeff Lynne forced the original band members Bev Bevan, Kelly Graucutt, Hugh McDowell, and Mik Kaminski, who in the early 1990’s decided to continue their music career in the same direction but without Lynne (who by then have dissolved the band), to use three different versions of the name – ELO Part II ORKESTRAm and THE ORCHESTRA. Jeff Lynne himself has only attempted a brief “comeback” in 2001, releasing an album with new material under the ELO brand titled Zoom; other than Lynne, there was only one other original member from the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA from the 1970-1986 who took part in the recording – the keyboardist Richard Tandy. But in 2015 the comeback album Alone In The Universe, following the legal advice, came out under the new name – Jeff Lynne’s ELO. In addition to that, the concerts in support of this release take place under an even more changed title – JEFFLYNNE’SELOakaTHEBRILLIANT...ELECTRICLIGHTORCHESTRA 2015.None of the other musicians from the original ELO other than few old friends of Lynne and Tandy participated in this “reunion”. As a matter of fact, it was Tandy, rather than Lynne who came up with most of ELO’s album titles, including the multiplatinum Discovery (1979). Another version of the more distant ELO branch is the concert project under the full name Phil Bates & Band perform ‘The Music of ELO’ (Phil Bates, who started his path towards the popular music back in the 1950’sby playing bass in a jazz quintet THE JAZZ COURIERS, and during 1960’s was one of the key members of THE QUILL, did not work a single day with Jeff Lynne in the 1970’s and 1980’s; but during the 1990’s he took part in the ELO Part II and THE ORCHESTRA). There would not have been any (ethical or legal) issues if in his tribute project he promoted the musical heritage of the post-Lynne transformations (and there is certainly plenty of material there that could use some promotion). But Bates, along with the tracks from the “second part” (to most of which he has direct connection) actively performs the songs from the original ELO (and having worked on his image, he practically became a stage “twin” of Lynne, which confused many of the fans during the Phil Bates & Band perform ‘The Music of ELO’show ). In addition to that, on the same field of popularization of the musical heritage of the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA there were several tribute projects(The ELO Experience, Electric Light Orchestra Tribute Band, A Tribute to The Electric Light Orchestra – All Star Tribute Band, Electric Light Overture – A Tribute to Electric Light Orchestra, Explosive Light Orchestra, ELO Once More – ELO Tribute Band, and others),the members of which had no connection to the original band. At the same time, some of the similar tribute bands (e.g. L. E. O.) performed not only cover versions of ELO’s hits, but also their own compositions in the spirit of the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA (second version – LIGHTBULBS). For designation of this music practice from the legal point of view they use such word combinations as “Jeff Lynne-inspired song” or “Electric Light Orchestra-style music project” (in this case, and similarly in others). To the stated above, it is worth adding that inclusion of the words “…Light Orchestra” and “…Orchestra” in combination of the project names was a fairly common practice in the music recording industry back in the 1970’s (e.g. THE GALACTIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, BLACK LIGHT ORCHESTRA, DISCO LIGHT ORCHESTRA, THE ROLLER DISCO ORCHESTRA, RED POINT ORCHESTRA, etc.), as well as much later (THE EGYPTIAN LIGHT ORCHESTRA). From the later versions of the names it is also worth mentioning theHAWKWIND LIGHT ORCHESTRA, the trio (lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Brock, vocalist and drummer Richard Chadwick, and vocalist and bass guitarist Niall Hone) that in 2012 released the so-called “stellar variations of esoteric recordings” HAWKWIND (this exemplary English band exists since 1969 and represents one of the founders of the “space rock” with elements of “hard rock”, “psychedelics”, “progressive rock”, “proto-punk”, and “heavy metal”). Another example is the single album Celebrate Christmas (2010), a super project by NORTHERN LIGHT ORCHESTRA with musicians from the “golden collection” of bands such as WHITESNAKE, THE BEACH BOYS, KANSAS, SURVIVOR, DEF LEPPARD, KISS, TESLA, QUIET RIOT, DIO, and others.
As we can see from these examples, in the rock music industrythere are many examples of various coincidences of names: name of a band with the name of the album of another band, name of the release of one performer with the name of the song of another band – or the other way around, a band is named after a particular release of another band. This is how the main composition from the album Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls (1969) of the American band COVEN has the title “Black Sabbath”. Moreover, their bass guitarist was a man from Illinois named Oz Osborne, who at the time had nothing to do with the British “Ozzy”.Let us remember that the debut LP of the Birmingham’s BLACK SABBATH (which also contained a track with the same name) was recorded in October of 1969 and was released in February of the following year. But there is no plagiarism in this particular case of the coincidental use of the title as a brand and as the name of two different rock compositions “Black Sabbath”, since it is substantiated by the fact of the popularity of the movie by and Italian director Mario Bava (Lamberto Bava, who is believed by some scholars  to be the author of the film “Black Sabbath” is actually the son of Mario Bava – comment by O. S.) “The Three Faceof Fear” (It. “I Tre Volti della Paura”), which in the English-speaking nations since 1963 was played under the title “Black Sabbath” (although the semantic translation of “Sabbath of Witches” would be more precise – comment by O. S.). The “reunion” of the real “Illinois”COVEN took place in 2007, marked by the 2008 release of past unreleased recordings titled Metal Goth Queen: Out of the Vault 1976-2007, where it is certainly worth mentioning the guest appearance by Tommy Bolin on few of the tracks (they can practically be considered the most recent studio recordings of this American musician). In 2013 the album Jinx was released, containing absolutely new musical industry-oriented material, recorded by the permanent vocalist Esther Jinx Dawson along with her band COVEN. As a matter of fact, from 1984 to 1993 there was a completely different Washington-based trash metal band under the same name COVEN (in 2012 they regrouped under a clarified name COVEN [Metal]).
The supergroup WAMI (Doogie White, Viiny Appice, Marco Mendoza, Iggy Gwadera) have released Kill The King album in 2015, which is an exact copy of the popular track by the band RAINBOW from their LP Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (1978). Doogie White does indeed have a direct connection to the last version of RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW (1995); at one point drummer Appice and bassist Mendoza were involved in a number of post-projects, the communication vectors of which lead to BLACK SABBATH and WHITESNAKE, and the young guitarist Gwadera’s actual name is “Igor”, and due to his age he had yet to have a chance to take part in legendary rock bands. The subgenre stylistics of the new release attempts to not get out of bounds set in 1978 by Blackmore, even though that later, between 1979-1983 they were significantly transformed and partially reversed in Stranger In Us All (1995). But to the song “Kill The King”, written in 1977 and released in 1978, none of the current WAMI members had any connection.
Under the name ACCEPT there are at least two bands. Since 1979 there is a German heavy metal project (with officially registered name), but in 2015 a new Japanese progressive rock band have recorded the album Under The 23rd under the same name (with questionable right to that name).
There were at least two rock bands with the name BABYLON – American progressive band of one album in style of early GENESIS, and German analogue of AC/DC; plus over a dozen of variations with the use of this word as one of the base words in the title (BABYLON A.D., BABYLON SAD, BABYLON FIRE, BABYLON ROCKETS, BABYLON BOMBS, BABYLON ZOO, BABYLON AUTUMN, ANGELS OF BABYLON, FIRES OF BABYLON, and others). The same polymorphous picture exists in the titles of albums of various bands, where under the title Babylon were released records of rock bands such as the SAVAGE ROSE in 1972, SAVAGE (hard band from UK, as there is also Italo disco singer Roberto Zanetti, who in the 1980’s performed under the stage name Savage) in 1997, GEMINI FIVE in 2000, TEN in 2000, SKRINDED in 2002, W.A.S.P. in 2009, and others. Not to even mention the fact that in the world discography of rock music under just the name “Babylon” (excluding variations) there are more than 50 of such performers asTony Esposito, Dr. John, Joe Lynn Turner, APHRODITE’S CHILD, BLUE CHEER, GOLDEN EARRING, SUPERSISTER, NEW YORK DOLLS, OMEGA, STRATOVARIUS, THE ANGELS (Australian project, which since 1977 permanently produces quality phonographic “hard ‘n’ heavy” products; in early 1960’s there was an American “girl band” with the same name), and others.
We should note that in the history of rock music the dynamics of emergence of bands with absolutely identical names does not have an isolated character. As an example, we can cite two British bands with the name IRON MAIDEN. The discography of the first has only one rare single recorded in hard/progressive rock with elements of psychedelics released in 1970, as well as a retrospective album Maiden Voyage with archived recordings from 1969-1970 with Barry Skeels, Paul Reynolds, Steve Chapman, Trevor Thomas, Steve Drewett, which was released on a CD in 1998. The second IRON MAIDEN is known worldwide – it is one of the leading representatives of NWOBHM – the band released its first LP in 1980, and until now with periodic changes in their cast they actively tour and record studio albums, while Bruce Dickinson – the fourth (the first three were Paul Day, Dennis Wilcock, Paul Di’Anno, and fifth – Blaze Bayley) soloist is referred to as the “classic Maiden vocalist”, and according to various surveys is considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists in the world. From the logic perspective, there is a collision: if both bands are “original” and the names are registered, then members of each band have the right (hypothetically) to use the name IRON MAIDEN. In addition to that, there was also an original band with the name RAINBOW significantly earlier than the date that Ritchie Blackmore created his star project in 1975. In 1968, anAmerican psycho-progressive rock band released their only album After The Storm on the “GNP Crescendo” label, but did not register the name, thus today, the only legally registered RAINBOW is Blackmore’s.
Many versions of the groups that emerged after important changes in the original cast try to include one or two key words from the original name into their new name, as if underlining their sacred connection with the source project.
Sometimes the bands just shorten the name, officially or unofficially (example of first – from GRAND FUNK RAILROAD to GRAND FUNK, and second – CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL to just CREEDENCE). Overall, in the recording industry management, there is a certain experience of resolving various legal issues related to the band names.
Peculiarities associated with using personal or stage names and pseudonyms in rock music from the position of international intellectual law
In the recording industry an important place belongs to “autonyms” (real name of the performer), and “astronyms” (pseudonym). The name of the band and its variations are often the reason for conflicts between members of the band. The first issue of the “Rolling Stone”  was published on November 9, 1967 in San Francisco, practically paving the way for professional rock journalism. But the choice of the name of the publication cannot be considered to be a perfect one, since by then the British group THE ROLLING STONES has already officially existed for four years (having practically reached a global status as a 2nd-tier band). The difference in spelling between the band nameand the magazine was just the letter “S”.
The rights to the name allows individualization of a legal entity or a sole proprietor among other participants of market relations, including distinguishing one subject of recording industry from another, and are a component of their business reputation within the industry. At the same time, it is noteworthy that there are names of producers of record products that are so similar, that they could be easily mistaken with previously registered well-known trademarks or names belonging to other proprietors (for example, “Panasonix” or “Panaslonic” instead of “Panasonic” and similar). In the recording industry it is forbidden to use markings that incorporate translations of original names of recording companies or major labels accompanied by words such as “form”, “type”, “style”, “version”, “mark”, “imitation”, etc. Such legal norm protects the consumers from possible confusion.
In the history of rock music one of the first stage names was used by Richard Starkey, who chose a pseudonym “Ringo Starr”. Performers often choose pseudonyms or stage names for various reasons – many believe that their real names or last names are difficult to pronounce or uneuphoneous (for example, Björk – Björk Guđmundsdóttir, Cher – Cherilyn Sakrisian La Pierre Bono Allman, Joe Lynn Turner – Joseph Arthur Mark Linquito, Ronnie James Dio – Ronald James Padavona, and others). In recent past stage names were also used in cases or it was believed that the name of the performer would signify certain ethnic background that could pose a possible risk of discrimination  (Freddie Mercury – Farrokh Bulsara, Bob Dylan – Robert Allen Zimmerman, Leonid Utyosov – Lazar Weiisbein, and others). At times artists use stage name in an attempt to hide their ties to one or another art dynasty.
The real name of a performer (musician, author, etc.), publically known under a pseudonym, in this case is understood as an “autonym” (from Ancient Greek αὐτο-, auto-, "self" and ὄνομα, ónoma, "name"). A special variant of pseudonymsthat mark the name of the performer with some type of typographic or other symbols (combination of several symbols) are the “astronyms” (from Ancient Greek άστρο -, astro-, "star" and ὄνομα, ónoma, "name"). In the world of popular music an astronym was used by an American rhythm and blues singer Prince Rogers Nelson, who for the most part of his career performed under the stage name “Prince”, but also used many other pseudonyms, among which especially famous are symbols that don’t have a phonetic equivalent, i.e. astronyms.
In the United States and UK there are set rules about use of performer’s stage names. One of these rules states that there cannot be two identical names, either actual or stage. In other words, if a McCartney family in Wales decides to name their boy after the great musician “Paul”, he will not be able to use his birth name in show business – he would have to take on a pseudonym, since in show business a second Paul McCartney is legally prohibited. But it is in this particular aspect that there are a large number of issues. For example, in the world of rock music it is widely known that from approximately mid-1980’s “Tony Martin” is the stage name of a fairly popular rock vocalist Anthony Philip Harford; but in the history of popular music there was another “Tony Martin” – from the second half of 1930’s there was an American performer of “traditional pop music” Alvin Morris who used the same stage name. Even though there was no legal issues between these two subjects, but the problem of coincidence of names of performers and other subjects of music industry still exists, and the algorithms of its resolution often fail.
It is worth accenting attention on the “coincidental band names” – this phenomenon was especially prevalent in little-known music projects of regional level. For example, under the fairly standard for rock music name FIRE there were several bands in many countries throughout time.
The iteration trend did not miss the rock scene of the Western Europe: a number of band names during the 1970’s and 1980’s were repeated in various countries (East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Polish People’s Republic, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia): ABC, ATLANTIS, HOBO, EXPRESS, KEKS, OK BAND, OLYMPIC, PANTA RHEI, TEAM, TURBO, and others (including the Yugoslavian FIRE).
The name of one of the best Czech rock bands OLYMPIC on the music law arena came really close to the name of the American doo-wop quartet THE OLYMPICS, formed in 1957.
In the post-Soviet space there were constant legal disputes with regards to the use of names (brands, trademarks) of popular VIE (“Pesniary”, “Ariel”, “Leysya, Pesnya”, “Cruise”, and others) . All of these facts testify that the “right to tradename” and “right to trademark” in music industry has to be defended in court.
Copyright holders of the band name in the cases of transformation of a rock band
After the collapse of the original band or departure of one (or more) of its notable members, parallel to the one “true version” there can definitely exist another modification of the same collective, but with a number of different components. Sometimes, different versions of the name represented various periods of the band, as if replacing one another. Thus for example, in the history of rock music firmly established their place two post-versions of BACCARA – Mayte Mateo’s BACCARA and María Mendiola’s BACCARA, two post-versions of T. REX – Mickey Finn’s T. REX and Bill Legend’s T. REX, two post-versions of BAY CITY ROLLERS – THE ROLLERS and NEW ROLLERS, two post-versions of SANTA ESMERALA – Jimmy Goings & SANTA ESMERALA and THE NEW SANTA ESMERALDA (with Leroy Gómez).
In various post-versions of many rock bands during creation of names derivative of original name, often there is an addition of the word “featuring” and names of the corresponding members (e.g. BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST featuring Les Holroyd, THE ZOMBIES featuring Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent) or the name of the central member is placed in the beginning of the new version of the name and is connected with the base part by the ampersand “…’s & …”.
Moreover, the last version can be used not only in post-versions (for example, ARTHUR BROWN’S KINGDOM COM, etc.), but in certain cases represent the original name of the rock project (for example, RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW, BLACKMORE’S NIGHT, BILL WYMAN’S RHYTHM KINGS, and others). There can also be different combinations involving numbers, in both, original name (e.g. 10 CC, MC5, etc.), and post-versions (e.g. COLOSSEUM II, SLADE II, and others). In addition to the aforementioned categories there are also bands, the names of which consist of only one letter (for example, X – an American punk rock band established in 1977) or just numbers (for example, 999 – a British punk rock band established in 1976), as well as various abbreviations (for example, the aforementioned HOT R. S. – House of the Rising Sun). For instance, after Robin McAuley joined the solo guitarist Michael Schenker (Michael Schenker Group) from 1986 to 1992, the breakdown of the abbreviation of the band name (M. S. G.) has changed to reflect the status of lead vocalist to MCAULEY SCHENKER GROUP, but still retained the same MSG abbreviation. However, after the split, the previous name was fully restored.
In 2010, having suspended his activity in the framework of MSG, Schenker created a new project with elements of a “supergoup” and called it Michael Schenker’s THE TEMPLE OF ROCK , which was also joined by the former SCORPIONS drummer Herman Rareball, and UFO bassist Pete Way among other famous musicians.
Sometimes the labels add the name of a popular musician in front of the title of a release as a frontman. For example, in 1999 “Zoom Club Records” released a limited amount of CD’s of a fairly rare phonographic material titled Riding High (The Unreleased Third Album), which contained the demo versions performed by John Sloman’s LONESTAR, recorded between January and August of 1978. But in reality, there was never a band with such name: over the years, the LONE STAR had many popular rock personas(Tony Smith, Kenny Driscoll, Pete Hurley, Dixie Lee, Rick Worsnop), and in addition to that, the recorded materialincluded Paul Chapman, who since 1971played with Gary Moore in the original project SKID ROW, and since 1974 was a permanent guitarist in the hard rock band UFO – after finishing the sessions with the incomplete concept of the album for LONE STAR, and after conclusion of this musical project in December of 1978, Chapman returned to UFO. Nevertheless, in 2002 the aforementioned CD was “re-released” by some bootleg labels – including the one that was known since early 2000’s by many collectors of rare CD’s, a “pirate” Russian label called G. & P. Substantial Music” (sometimes under the name – “G. & P. Music”, “G. & P. Essential Music”, “G. & P. Music Rare Live Set”, “J SHP”).
Such practice of “renaming after the fact” is flawed, since an original name is retrospectively added to a band name, usually with orientation towards the creative achievements of one of the members; and this is incorrect from the musical perspective (LONE STAR cannot be considered Slowman’s band – he was not its founder, main author, producer, etc., and only became widely renowned towards early 1980 as the lead vocalist for URIAH HEEP, taking part in the recording of the album Conquest), nor legal (there was never an original phonographic production with such legal name). A similar case took place in production of the CD of a power rock trio BIG BERTHA with vocalist brothers Dave (solo guitarist) and Denny Ball, as well as little-known at the time drummer Cozy Powell. The CD presents the ultra-rare recording of a live performance of this amazing band in a small Hamburg club, which took place on December 3, 1970. But the title side of the front of the CD said “Cozy Powell’s BIG BERTHA”, while on the sides of the back the band was called “BIG BERTHA – Live featuring Cozy Powell”. The interesting fact is that the producing label “Zoom Club Records” in this case used both versions of the names of the post-versions of the original band – “…’s…” and“…featuring…”. Another interesting fact is that the different recording company “Majestic Rock” produced this same material in a “double CD” format, calling it Live In Hamburg. In reality, the rock trio BIG BERTHA (without mentioning the name of Cozy Powell) was officially able to launch only one single “Munich City / Funky Woman” on the “United Artists Records”, re-released a year and a half later by the same label in the 7” format with one track – “Munich City”. The record label “Liberty” in 1970 released a single, which on one side has the studio recording of “Munich City” BIG BERTHA, and on the other – “I Want To Take You Higher” by Ike and Tina Turner. Considering the complete difference in the style of these two tracks, it is difficult to say which potential byers the label management was trying to reach.
Speaking of metamorphoses with the band names, we can state that two years prior to the records with the tracks “Munich City” and “Funky Woman” Ace Kefford created a blues rock band with the original name BIG BERTHA featuring Ace Kefford. It was this group that at the beginning of 1969 became the BIG BERTHA with Powell and the Ball brothers, but without Kefford.However, the names BIG BERTHA featuring Cozy Powell and Cozy Powell’s BIG BERTHA were never used and did not officially exist.
For a prolonged period of time there was a legal dispute between the former frontman of QUEENSRŸCHE Geoff Tate and this band, but with the new vocalist, regarding the use of the name QUEENSRŸCHE. One of the possible solutions to this conflict was the signing of an agreement that one of the parties would use the name QUEENSRŸCHE, while the other – OPERATION: MINDCRIME (after the title of the band’s best album, which became their hallmark). There were also legal disputes between the labels “Independiente” and “Domino Records” on one side, and the band GUNS N’ROSES on the other, as well as between “EMI” and PINK FLOYD . Over a quarter of a century later Roger Waters admitted wrongfully suing PINK FLOYD. In 1985 in court he stated: “PINK FLOYD no longer exists” – a statement to which there was an objection, explaining that “Pink Floyd” is not just the name of the band, it is a trademark, and has a certain commercial value. Unfounded termination of trademarks goes completely against the English law .
The name of a melodic metal project MOB RULES is a complete copy of the title of a BLACK SABBATH album, which can cause certain misunderstanding. Let us briefly explain: BLACK SABBATH’S first album with Ronnie James Dio as the vocalist is called Heaven & Hell (1980) – between 2006 and 2010 there was a partial “reunion” of this reincarnation in form of a new supergroup named after that album – HEAVEN & HELL (this project consisted of musicians who had direct connection to BLACK SABBATH of 1980-1982); BLACK SABBATH’S second album, recorded and released with Dio is called Mob Rules (1981) – but since 1999this name is used by a German power band that has absolutely no connection to BLACK SABBATH. The band LAST IN LINE functions by the same principles; it includes members of the original cast of the solo project DIO (i.e. musicians who took part in the recording of the album The Last In Line, released in 1984 and reaching the status of a “gold record” – Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain, Claude Schnell, as well as vocalist Andrew Freeman – former member of the bands HURRICANE and LYNCH MOB).Sometimes there is another name of this “spinoff project” which can also simultaneously be considered a supergroup as Vivian Campbell’s LAST IN LINE (the musicians in this band – of course with Dio’s vocals – recorded second and third LP The Last In Line (1984) and Sacred Heart (1985)), which defined the concept of the project for years to come (the keyboardist Schnell did not take part in the debut album Holy Diver (1983) ). In February of 2016, a band with the name LAST IN LINE released the album Heavy Crown (as a matter of fact, the Japanese version became available online several weeks prior to the official release, which presupposes a special legal comment that we will not discuss in this work)…It is worth mentioning that this rather promising project and its only release became the final for the remarkable bassist Jimmy Bain, to the memory of whom this work is dedicated.
“Owner of the album name” and “Owner of the band name” as special categories in the law enforcement experience in protection of intellectual property
Let us note that we should distinguish between the categories “Owner of the band name” and “Owner of the album name”. It would seem that at the time the corresponding BLACK SABBATH members did not register as “Owners of the name of the album Mob Rules”, which is exactly what led to the aforementioned collision. The “Owner” of the name of the band BLACK SABBATH is Tony Iommi (this fact continues to be the subject of litigation, being periodically renewed by Ozzy Osborne). Similar music law situation also happened with one of the titles of an album from back catalogue of BLACK SABBATH. In 2005, Tony Martin formed his own band called HEADLESS CROSS, which was titled after one of the best releases recorded by BLACK SABBATH with Martin as the lead vocalist; In other words, it is a complete copy of the name of the album Headless Cross (1989) and a track with the same name.
The name was later transformed into Tony Martin’s HEADLESSCROSS. Besides Martin, there was another former member of BLACK SABBATH 1979-2004 that took part in the new project since 2012 – a keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, as well as Italian guitarist Dario Mollo, founder of the rock project VOODOO HILL with Glenn Hughes, and Swedish bassist Magnus Rosén from the heavy metal band HAMMERFALL. The main priorities of this supergroup (based on the status of the members, this project can certainly be attributed to such category) are concentrated on the conceptual work, but they have not recorded any new material as of yet; even though with two of the three members of the Tony Martin’s HEADLESS CROSS – Mollo and Nicholls – Martin periodically records fairly powerful and successful releases under different brands (for example, THE CAGE and others). We should separately note that all of the albums of which Tony was presented as the vocalist of BLACK SABBATH (i.e. periods 1987-1991 and 1993-1197), over the last 15 years were completely taken off the market by the management initiative. In Martin’s releases, as one of the best rock singers, we can see a mental reflection of multistage communicational vectors, which travel to post-projectsfrom RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE (M3, PHENOMENA, RONDINELLI, EMPIRE, SILVER HORSES, and others), and other (mostly Italo-Balkan) rock organizational schemes (GUINTINI PROJECT, Misha Calvin, and others).
We can cite a number of other examples with regards to “ownership of the band name”: WHITESNAKE – David Coverdale, FOREIGNER – Mick Jones, BOSTON – Tom Scholz, RAINBOW – Ritchie Blackmore, URIAH HEEP – Mick Box (it is worth noting that after Ken Hensley left the URIAH HEEP in 1981, bassist Trevor Bolder proposed changing the original name and stop using the brand URIAH HEEP; nevertheless, the name was kept, but from the second half of the 1980’s URIAH HEEP in its musical and creative essence gradually transformed into a project of Mick Box, which is also indirectly confirmed by the complete absence of “solo albums” by the guitarist in almost quarter of a century worth of rock career).
The owners of the name of the melodic rock project PHENOMENA, since 1985 worked on by performers such as Glenn Hughes, John Wetton, Tony Martin, Ray Gillen, and others, are producers Tom Galley and Wilfried Rimensberger. In 2010, the fifth album was released, which due to legal reasons that are kept private, was published under the same name, but with a clarification “From Tom Galley – The Creator of Phenomena”, and in 2012, the name on the sixth release was changed to TOM GALLEY’S PHENOMENA.
There are known cases when the “owners” through various agreements transferred the right of full use of the original name of their brainchild (SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND). At times, we can also observe paradoxes. Thus for example, in 2011-2012 the former members of a Dutch band VANDENBERG Bert Heerink, Dick Kemper, Jos Zoomer have filed lawsuit against Adrian Vandenberg – the founder and frontman of this no longer existing project with demands to use his last name in their further musical career as a brand. The ruling was against their demand. Overall however, in the rock industry legal disputes in the area of right to name happens fairly often (QUENNSRŸCHE, RATT, L.A. GUNS, HAWKWIND, THE DOORS, and others), usually resulting in emergence of several groups with similar names. For example, Andy Scott’s SWEET, Steve Priest’s SWEET, and Brian Connolly’s SWEET (the latter still continues to exist, but now as more of a tribute band in memory of late Brian Connolly, who died in 1997). A similar situation took place with the T. REX “reunion” – brainchild of a bright glam rocker of 1970’s Marc Bolan, who died in an automobile accident in 1977. In 2008, after the death of Mickey Finn – the co-founder of T. REX (the legal rights to the original name were prior purchased by someone, whose identity is kept private) his family has consented to giving the rights to MICKEY FINN’S T. REX name to the musicians, with whom he was trying to re-createa version of T. REX, stating that “Mickey would want this”.
In legal disputes regarding use of the original name, a major role plays the status of musicians, who stood at the base of one or another band that has over time reached popularity, but with another cast of members. As an example, we can look at the American glam metal band Y&T (short for “Yesterday and Today” – a compilation from THE BEATLES, which according to legend, was playing on the background at the time they were coming up with the name), which began its rock career from the status of a nameless cover band in 1972. The first cast of Y&T did not take any part in authoring the original compositions. But by 1974 based on the pitch from the manager Herbie Herbert and initiative of the leader – guitarist and vocalist Dave Meniketti – the band in a new caststarted recording their own songs, majority of which in the sector of “hard ‘n’ heavy” became hits (“Don’t Stop Runnin’”, “She’s A Liar”, “Open Fire”, “Mean Streak”,“Summertime Girl”, and others). In this regard, for example, the same Bob Gardner, Wayne Stitzer, and Gary Mendonca, who were there at the beginning of formation of the cover band and correspondingly working with it only during 1972-1973, should doubtfully be considered to be contenders to the use of the name Y&T, which by the mid 1980’s was well recognized by the fans as a hard rock brand.
A complex combination can also be seen in the situation with the two SKID ROW bands: the first – an Irish blues rock band, representing a project created by Brush Shiels with participation of Phil Lynott (later the founder of THIN LIZZY) and Gary Moore, which existed from 1967 to 1972; the second – a bright representative of the American version of the “hair glam metal” – created in 1986, and a year after the rights to the name SKID ROW were bought out from Gary Moore. In the musical aspect, the new American SKID ROW, despite the acquired name, did not position themselves as the inheritors of right and continuers of the traditions of the original Irish band.Brandon “Brush” Shiels has expressed displeasure with regards to the final decision on the use of the name SKID ROW. He regrets the fact that this issue was not even discussed with him and he “dislikes the band that stole their name”. In 1999, there was a “reunion” of the American SKID ROW in a new cast (without the first frontman Sebastian Bach), but of course with the same name. Since 2005, Brush Shiels has performed several times with his regrouped Irish band under the name “BRUSH” SHIELS SKID ROW. Two of the original members of the Irish cast Phil Lynott and Gary Moore are no longer alive. Since 2003, there have been talks regarding the use of the name for the production of the unreleased archive recordings of the Irish band.
Sometimes the conflicts are resolved differently. One of the examples is the 1996 case, where by John Sykes’ initiative the project THIN LIZZY was regrouped with Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, and Darren Wharton (none of them were part of the original cast, but were part of the last cast before the dissolution of the band and the death of Phil Lynott). The regrouped band received the right to the use of the name THIN LIZZY, and moreover, absolutely all former members of THIN LIZZY got the right to play in the band at any time. But the situation continued to remain controversial, and in order to avoid disapproval of the fans, who did not want to accept THIN LIZZY without Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham made a compromising and a rather correct decision that in the concert performances this brand can continue to be used, but only when performing songs with the heritage and undisputed contribution by Lynott, and all recordings with new material should be released under another name. The original THIN LIZZY drummer Brian Downey did not even want to tour in support of the new album, and was replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso. As a result, on the base of THIN LIZZY, which by 2012 basically transformed into a touring tribute project, Gorham and Warwick along with other musicians formed the BLACK STAR RIDERS, which even though was the successor of THIN LIZZY, did not use the name (“Without Phil there is no Lizzy” ), which significantly freed the musicians – being outside the framework of THIN LIZZY gave them more creative freedom, maintaining the foundation of the former sound.
There have been already two quality albums released under the BLACK STAR RIDERS brand; and the second was produced by Nick Raskulinecz, who is known for his work with RUSH. The main author of the songs became the Irishman Ricky Warwick, who practically became the new leader of BLACK STAR RIDERS.
Thus we can speak about existence of a special category of bands that are created by fairly popular musicians within the framework of continuation or renewal of the traditions of a popular rock brand, but due to legal reasons, under a different name.
There was not and most likely cannot be any legal issues in the world of rock between two fairly popular rock bands with similar names – the British No. 3 band THE WHO (formed in 1961 under the name THE DETOURS) and the first star Canadian band THE GUESS WHO (formed in 1962 as Chad Allan & THE EXPRESSIONS). This is due to the fact that the communications of development of this musical projects in the early period did not intersect, and the genesis of the models of these bands was taking place autonomously. The start of the collision with the names was laid by the label “Quality”, which jokingly in 1965 released a debut album of the Canadians THE EXPRESSIONS with the title on the record label: “Guess Who?”, hoping that by using this mystification they would lead the byers to believe that the recording belongs to a fairly popular band that has decided to produce a release incognito. The success of the album led to the fact that the title with a twist became a successful rock brand for years to come.
Final positions and main conclusions
From the presented material we can see that the right to the name of a rock band carries a complexed legally binding character.
The legal culture is a system-forming factor of development of communicational models of a rock band, a certain number of which has formed within the music industry. A rock band is a brand and a trademark, without which the musicians could not gather people at the concert or sell a record with a name nobody knows. After changes in the cast, a rock band as a music business entity continues to function – in some cases under the old original name, while in others – under an altered but recognizable brand, and in some – under a completely new name. Combination of words or symbols that identify the author are: first and last name of the author; last name and middle name of the author; author’s initials; author’s pseudonym; author’s symbol (or combination of symbols), etc., comprise the legal content of the notion “author’s name”.
Due to the issues in the legal field, during a disagreement in understanding with regards to the use of the band name, there were often two functioning bands with the same basic name (at times, there were intentional creation of exact copies, and at times, there were the so-called “coincidental band names”).
Analysis of the legal practice in this sector of rock music recording testifies to the fact that in renewal of the professional activity of a band, one of the central places belongs to the realization of the right to name.
The use of a band name is a rather thin and delicate legal culture issue, which even in court in resolved differently, which underlines the existence of fairly complicated standards and corporate precepts in this issue .