Band Name and legal status....

Band Name and legal status....

Postby LazyLightnin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:12 pm

so forgive me if this comes off as naive, because it probably will and you'll all think of me as a jackass after this, unless you already do which i'm cool with cuz i can be incredibly thick skinned at times. and other times not. 8)

So i have my "Dead cover band", we play a gig every 2-3 weeks. we just started out about 6 months ago, had some line up changes and kinks worked out - now we're good to go. The name of the band, and it wasn't my idea, is Dead Ahead. now i know it's a pbs special (im not even sure if that particular title can be purchased except for the telethon nights) and I, not coming up with anything better plus the urgency for a band name in the face of an upcoming gig (one guy wanted Uncle Monkey, the bar told me they wouldn't even book me if i went with that lol. he's since been replaced), agreed to roll with the name. I suggested that we really think it through before we go too much further since it may be a copyrighted title, so i have been deeming us "DeadAhead" , one word.

should i stop using the name all together ? not just for cheese factor but for legal concerns?
am i overreacting or do i have a legitimate concern?

no i will not name my band after a clapton tune :lol:
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby deadguise » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:38 pm

Use Dead Ahead, your band's not a DVD or a TV Special...
Heads (your core audience) usually figure out what type of band you are by the name; if it has Dead in it, or a phrase or character from Grateful Dead lyrics. There's Playin' Dead, Play Dead, Play Live Dead, Dead Guys, Dead Live, Dead to the Core, Found On the Road Dead.....
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby jdsmodulus » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:42 pm

I played in a band called Dead Ahead for about a year! Jimmy T and Stu A from the Schwag have a new band called Dead Ahead. I would worry more about other bands out there than the DVD issue. Not saying you should worry, Im just saying they are out there. Probably 3 more as well!
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby strumminsix » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:06 am

+1, JD.

Find a name that isn't being used by other bands. Firstly, it's confusing. Secondly, it's kinda copying. Thirdly, you should want direct hit web searches.
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby LazyLightnin » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:29 am

Yes, i did realize that there are other Dead Aheads when i google searched, but none that seemed prominent. We have always been reserved to the fact that the bands name will eventually need to be changed. I wasn't seriously worried about being asked by pbs to not use the name, i just wondered what the real copyright laws would say.

im not so concerned about copying as there are a gazillion cover/bar/club acts using the same names all over the country. nobody around here knows of any other Dead Aheads and probably couldn't care about that as much as i do.

im just happy the band is moving along, im booked at nelsons twice this summer. should be fun having my first experience on such a large stage
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby jlg327 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:52 am

It's actually not Copyright law that you're worried about, it's Trademark Law. Copyright would pertain to a creative work (i.e. a song/album/poem/picture/etc.). Trademark is about having the public understand the source of goods or services, and is specifically about protecting the goodwill that one provider garners. Its purpose is to prevent another entity from coming up with a similar mark, confusing the public, and trading off of the original provider's reputation.

You can learn more about Trademarks (or in this case, it's actually a "Service Mark" as your band is providing a service, not a good in commerce - that is, until you start selling merch) on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website: www.uspto.gov

You'll want to do a simple search using the TESS system.

If you search for Dead Ahead, you'll see that there are three registered trademarks for it. One is live and the other two are dead. The live mark is registered by "The Schwag, LLC" and is directly on point.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

-Jim
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby LazyLightnin » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:02 pm

i see that its actually "The Schwag Dead Ahead" ah well.
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby astroman99 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:10 pm

There is one on Long Iland, NY just link thru dead bands NY to find 'em
Names are easy, I wouldn't use one myself with the word Dead in it,
they have so many great songs with countless references that the masses will grok.


I had a dead band in the nineties called In the Air...(mine was a reference to airbourn hazardous materials) oh and also Ripple
three years later Merle had an album called In The Air pretty cool...I thought!
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby LazyLightnin » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:44 pm

i just cant seem to come up with anything thats straightforward and to the point for a band name. im not sure if im comfortable with a tounge-in-cheek, candid reference from a song. people that dont know what it means will constantly ask to have it explained, you know how folks all wanna talk with you on break and after the show. i'd rather the band name sound bold and and short, something that will stand out and stick in folks minds. i dont want my bands name to be something like "bertha's buddies" or "St' Stephens Clergymen". actually that last one might work lol :D
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby FretWilkes » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:59 pm

Dead Lovers
The GDT Band ( Grateful Dead Tribute)
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby astroman99 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:41 am

LazyLightnin wrote:i just cant seem to come up with anything thats straightforward and to the point for a band name. im not sure if im comfortable with a tounge-in-cheek, candid reference from a song. people that dont know what it means will constantly ask to have it explained, you know how folks all wanna talk with you on break and after the show. i'd rather the band name sound bold and and short, something that will stand out and stick in folks minds. i dont want my bands name to be something like "bertha's buddies" or "St' Stephens Clergymen". actually that last one might work lol :D



I would help you with a suggestion or two, but I haven't given up the dream of being in a band.
I have it on good authority that one day my daughter will grow up, and I will actually be able to play guitar again.
Good Luck
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby strumminsix » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:49 am

LL, have you really been overwhelmed by fans on setbreak wanting to know what the name of your band means?

If you are gigging every 2-3 weeks for 6 months = 14ish shows - what name are you actually using now?

You want a Dead band, seem very concerned with how 1 bar will view the name, don't seem to worry if fans confuse your band with another one.


I know I'm missing something here. Sorry but I'm just very confused by all this.

What is really so hard about:
1 - making a list of a dozen names that deadheads will recognize or associate to Dead and not sound stupid to non-heads
2 - google those names and reduce to only unused names
3 - vote/decide and play
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby Chuckles » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:18 am

Alternately, you could go with the strategy our band is using with some deal of success. We chose a totally generic name (surprisingly, a Google search didn't turn up any hits for other bands using it) but designed a band logo that Heads would get (final art executed by RUK-er and all-around very copacetic dude, TAPESTRY :hail: ), but wouldn't necessarily alienate (or, as Strummin' put it, sound stupid to) non-Heads either. We then did a quickie Facebook Fan Page and advertised a gig via FB... had a great turnout and added a couple hundred people to our mailing list in about a week's time. To my mind, this has got to be the easiest and most cost-effective way of building a quick local following.
Seems like I've been here before...

The Road's Facebook Page (including links to tunage) is here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Road/ ... 200?ref=nf
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:35 am

Use Lazylightning - one word not two ...... simple and sweet
:D
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Re: Band Name and legal status....

Postby LazyLightnin » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:47 am

no, i haven't been overwhelmed by folks about the band name, but i have been getting overwhelmed just in general by alot of the heads that come see us. there are really only a few Dead bands around town. one is an established name - JimMiller band. he sounds good but is in nowehere near the form he was 15 years ago. another is "Into the Blue", a conglomarite of local musicians all in other original bands that do a Dead night every 6 months or so. The field is wide open out here, theres no band you can go see on a consisitent basis that does at least 90% dead tunes (we do some Waits and some Ween), so its perfect timimg for the torch to be passed. But yeah, when we go on break i have to spend the first 15 mintues of it shaking hands and listening to folks tell me stories about how many memories were brought back while we did our first set. When i put up flyers at our "hub" bar where we perform a few times a month, folks just take them off the walls and take them home. i have to go put more up, plus the bar gets calls from folks asking when my band is playing again - which they told me has never happened at this particular bar (dont be fooled , its a crappy bar but as far as bands in my situation, its the best place you can be in this county right outside of cuyahoga). someone recognized me in one of my classes here at college and they went on and on in front of everybody - i was so embarressed, everyone was looking at me and then folks wanted to talk, the teacher starts asking me questions about it - exactly what i didnt want to happen. now everytime i go to this class i have to run a gauntlet of q & a from folks that dont even know me or what the hell im doing for that matter, its silly. i love being put on the spot on stage but not off of it.

things moved so quickliy for us, we've kinda gone into a spin for a few weeks. we made calls to a lot of clubs and then out of nowhere we started getting calls back from bars and clubs all over NE ohio. we played as the current outfit for 2 shows and immediately landed 2 gigs at nelsons -granted one is on the noon timeslot but ya gotta start somewhere.we landed other gigs in clubs in alliance and ashland and generally all over. we were requested to play the saturday night at a large camping/music fest here in lorain county this summer. just too much to mention going on and ive never had to deal with all this stuff before. lots of these gigs are pending as we try to schedule ourselves around the others. we should be gigging every week in a few months and then when the summer comes...man i cant wait for the fun to begin.

You want a Dead band, seem very concerned with how 1 bar will view the name, don't seem to worry if fans confuse your band with another one.


did you not intend for this quote to read like this? i got confused a bit.

We gig as Dead Ahead. a google search turns up nothing. if i go 2 pages on google without seeing another band with the same name then im satisfied. If there were another Dead Ahead in ohio or in an adjacent state then i would look for a change, but as of now that hasnt happened. The whole point of the first post was that i wanted to know if anyone could at some time tell me "hey you cant use that name because pbs has the rights to that name and anything using that name that is Dead related would be subject to a forced switch".

now, the two fellas that i replaced in the band were pushing to use the name "Uncle Monkey" as we were doing almost the entire reckoning album at the time. I never liked the name, it sounds too "cute" for me. when i went to book a show i simply asked the owner what he thought would sound/look better. he told me he wouldnt even book me if i used that band name and that Dead Ahead was perfect. now i know it might sound as though the entire debacle rested on the whim of one bar owners preference but thats not really the case, he just confirmed my suspicions. the 2 fellows that wanted that cute sounding name would shout "UNCLE MONKEY" at the top of their lungs between songs.....i hated that. good guys, fun guys, not very good musicans/decision makers lol.

so something like uncle monkey is out of the question. Dead Ahead is perfect, i was just worried that someone would tell me i couldnt use it.

this is why i take my plight to you guys. you always give me an array of suggestions, some i like some i dont like, but thats the point -to get as many perspectives as possible. this is the best site/community for the insight im looking for. you guys never fail me lol
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