A band or other entertainment group’s name may be protected – not by copyright – but by trademark law.
A trademark is a word, phrase, design, symbol, etc that identifies and distinguishes the products and services of the owner from those of others.
Federal trademark registration of your band name provides nationwide use of the name and allows
you to stop others from using the same name, or a confusingly similar name, anywhere in the U.S.
Trademark protection can provide you with the exclusive rights to use the band’s name in connection with recording, performing and the sale of merchandise. Trademarks can also protect the name of a record label or publishing company.
Since most bands and musical acts provide entertainment “services”, a service mark is the type of trademark protection to properly protect the name of your band.
If you sell CD’s or merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, posters, etc you can also
register your name or logo as a trademark. Every band has heard stories about other bands that had
to change their name – because another band somewhere else had trademark rights in that name.
Ownership of the band’s name is important in the event that the band breaks up. Who owns it then? Band members should clearly agree about who owns the legal rights to the band’s name.
For more information, see our Band Name Trademark Guide.