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Ryan Cooper

Chicago's Future Ghosts issues a statement regarding the cease and desist

By December 14, 2012

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The announcement earlier this week that Chicago's Future Ghosts had served a cease and desist letter on the Greensboro band of the same name that resulted in the removal of their online presence brought a lot of response and discussion from both sides of the fence.

We heard from fans of the Greensboro band, as well as from other bands using the Future Ghosts name who were affected. And we also heard from the Chicago band that had issued the legal proceedings that have caused the present ugliness.

Because the stories are never explicitly black and white, we asked the Chicago band to tell their side of the story, and we have posted it in its entirety.


Who Owns the Future of Future Ghosts? Part 2: Chicago's Future Ghosts Make a Statement


December 15, 2012 at 6:23 am
(1) Concerned Musician says:

The problem is clearly identified in this article. With people able to create their own songs in their basements or on iPads and upload to Soundcloud within hours or even less, they don’t want to wait a year or so for the USPTO to have their band name identifiable to their music. So here are some possible solutions the music industry should consider:

Creative Commons for Band Names – Similar to creative commons for song copyrights, Band names creative commons could be a way to immediately identify uniqueness, or the willingness to share none, all, or some of the name. For example, The Squirrels, The SquirrelsUK, etc. If someone wants to do the “old fashioned way”, that is available too.

Also all on-line music distribution sites do not hold themselves liable for bands duplicating trademarked names. The liability is
on the “infringer” with consequenses as harsh as loss of property, damages, and all profits made in Federal Court. I’m sure many musicians don’t really care to read the fine print that could potentially end in a real mess. With that in mind, new tools hosted on these sites are needed on these to query USPTO trademarks and avoid duplicates. This will prevent a band from accidentally or purposely make them selves liable.

December 16, 2012 at 4:34 am
(2) Curtis says:

this article is completely wrong on one MAJOR point: when it says “they were using someone else’s registered name” it implies that the name was registered when the NC Future Ghosts, or the other bands for that matter, started. NCFG already had an EP for sale, both as a physical copy and on itunes and other online outlets, before the name legally belonged to anyone.

also, the Chicago Future Ghosts’ actions werent just “heavy handed”. you say that they were within their rights, but legally their actions would be considered malicious and they could easily be taken to court over them. its happened before in VERY similar situations.

i understand that Sean from Chicago Future Ghosts isnt necessarily a horrible person. he just isnt that smart in these matters, and every action and statement that he makes proves that. he’s out of his league here, and he obviously needs someone involved with his band that has legit music industry knowledge if he’s going to push things this far.

December 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(3) J says:

Curtis – I disagree with your comment. According to their Trademark registration, Future Ghosts of Chicago first used this in commerce in 1/1/2006. This means selling products and performances, etc. The NC band didn’t come along until 2010. When Chicago filed for it in 2011, it was up to those who thought they had a claim to oppose it. No one did. it was then published and registered to Chicago for exclusive rights.

December 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm
(4) dan says:

J- you need to relaize one thing with trademarks. The only date that matters is the registration date it came into effect 2012. Anyone using the name/trademark prior to that date has pre-existing rights to that name/trademark. Its not exclusive to Chicago. its up to the courts to decide who has what rights and where but all the bands have legal rights to the name.

January 31, 2013 at 9:01 am
(5) Steve says:

I am a business person, not a musician. This is a dick move. They knew what they were doing and were trying jumpstart a stagnant music career by capitalizing on the success of others. I hope someone funds Unifier’s legal team to sue these idiots back to their basement. Good luck to them booking shows. When you get a reputation as a litigious jerk, people won’t work with you.

The City of Richmond, VA banned the Grateful Dead in the 1980s, for example. The music community responded by bypassing Richmond for about 20 years. My advice to the Chicago band is to apologize, negotiate a deal to sell the name and then go back to their day jobs.

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