If there is a written band agreement, the right to the band name will typically be in the name of all of the band members at the time of formation. Sometimes, a band agreement will provide the name belongs to a particular member or members, who agree to “loan” the name to the band. When this happens, those “key members” usually negotiate for a greater share of the revenues earned from the bands’ usage of the name. If a leaving key member does waive his interest in the band’s name, he may still insist that his name be identified in public as a former member of the band. However, the leaving key member may refuse to sell his interest in the band, even though he no longer performs with the band. If this happens, that member may retain the right to use the band’s name, subject to being bought-out.
Ownership of the name of an incorporated band is usually in the name of the corporation, with all the members owing stock in the corporation. When a member who owns stock leaves a corporate band, they are usually asked to sell their respective interest (shares) in the corporation to the remaining band members. If a band member does not own stock in the corporation, that member may be asked to sign an agreement when he leaves waiving any rights in the band’s name.
(Reprinted with permission of Ruben Salazar, Esq.)
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