Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who Owns a Band Name?

Neal Shah of the LA Times recently published a story on the fight for ownership of hair-metal groups' names:

Rock's Dark Age also spawned stars who have been downright obsessed with making sure they don't spend their professional after-lives in legal limbo.

Consider Axl Rose. Most of the media coverage of Rose's comeback shows in 2006 was critical of his decision to call his band Guns N' Roses when it lacks prime-period members Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler.

Greed? Perhaps. But a more mundane explanation is that GNR is not just a rock band, it's a company, and Rose is its CEO.

In the mid-'90s, Rose pressured Slash and Duff, the two remaining GNR originals at the time, to sign a contract stating that Axl "would retain rights to the band name and was allowed to start a new band that he could call Guns N' Roses" if the band broke up, according to Slash's new autobiography, "Slash."

"I was naive about the whole thing," Slash writes in his book. "I didn't protect myself legally because I didn't think I had to. In my mind, what was the name without the players?"

You can read the entire article here.

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