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Artist's studio name?

Hey all, I'm looking for some advice here, please...

I have an artist production name that I have been using since 2003. I have been paying for a web domain under the production name since 2005.

I just did a Google search my studio name to see what would come up, and I found this Facebook band page that is using the same name as me. There are only 10 people who "like" it, and everything was just made/added on their page from Nov. 30th 2010.

I'm not really sure what to do here. Do I just ignore it because they are producing music and I am producing 2D artwork? Or do I bring it up with them somehow? 

And if so, is there a way I can find who owns the Facebook group, since it's a page where you can't PM them? 

On the same note, I found a youtube account created a year ago that states they are a group of artists, with their DA pages linked, and they call themselves ...the same name that I have for my production name.

I'm a little bit more concerned about that one. I haven't exactly legally copyrighted my studio name yet, but I do have bills dating back to 2005 as to when I bought the domain name of it.

Oh, and I also found a fansub group with the same name as well that popped up in April of this year...it kind of bugs me, because it's not a common name at all that I am using, too :(

Of course at the time when I came up with the name, I did a Google search and there weren't any results for it in 2003.

*EDIT*

Okay, so I did a bit more research on the fansub group...it seems their website doesn't have any updates before April of 2010 (as that may just be their style), but I found a forum board for them which dates back to 2005...still, I searched the Internet in and out before taking the domain name of it, and nothing came up then...so I can't help to wonder if they changed their name?

My domain reads like this __studios.com. Their domain reads like this __-fansubs.com, using the same first part...right now I am not going to tell my studio name, just because I have been having issues with harassment as of late by some people.

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
oceandezignz
Dec. 22nd, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
It could be possible they changed their name. Scanlation/fansub groups seem to do that every so often.

Only think that possibly comes to mind as a solution, and it might not even be applicable, is to attempt trademarking.
celarania
Dec. 22nd, 2010 07:05 am (UTC)
I'm not sure there's much you can do because if I recall correctly, you can use the same name as long as you're not competing and there's no chance of confusion. Basically if you're "Black Cat Studios" and there's "Black Cat Fansubs" and "Black Cat" the band, there's little chance of confusion them. (The fansub group might be closer.)
westly_roanoke
Dec. 22nd, 2010 07:26 am (UTC)
Heh, I actually had sacredgrounds@gmail.com, and the coffee company: http://www.sacred-grounds.com/ 's orders started coming to my address!

I gave them the address, changed mine to sacredgroundscomic@gmail.com and made everything a LOT easier for everyone.

There's like, fifty Sacred Grounds across the world, so I'm not worried about trademark or anything, not to mention it's a very generic name.

I'm sacredgroundscomic.com too.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
lady_bealzabub
Dec. 26th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
XD Your "Black Cat" example reminded me why the offical name of my business is "BCP" instead of Black Cat Productions. XD SO MANY BLACK CAT GROUPS. D:
neolucky
Dec. 22nd, 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
Echoing the "trademark" thing here. I don't think you really have much of a leg to stand on if it's not trademarked or copyrighted or what-have-you. I have to ask but what IS your studio name? I noticed you've completely omitted it. If it's something common in any way shape or form, I don't know if it should really worry or bother you too terribly much. I doubt anyone named themselves after your studio on purpose.

Now if they were claiming to BE you on the other hand, then yes I'd worry. otherwise this sort of thing isn't too big of a deal.
sovy
Dec. 22nd, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
"Do I just ignore it because they are producing music and I am producing 2D artwork? Or do I bring it up with them somehow?"

You can try talking to them. They might be amiable to changing their name. They might also tell you where you can stick that request.

You will probably be spending something between $500-$2000 in legal and fees to trademark your name, depending on if (and how much) legal help you get. You can then send a cease & desist order to the band or whoever is using the name and tell them, "Change it or else."
sovy
Dec. 22nd, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
IANAL by the way.
who_was_phone
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
You will probably be spending something between $500-$2000 in legal and fees to trademark your name

You are exactly right, and that's the reason why I haven't done it yet, thinking the name was rare enough that I would never need to worry about it...but I'm kind of stupid.
sovy
Dec. 23rd, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, it is kind of pricey for the self-employed. You will also need to spend time looking for anyone infringing on the trademark as well as defending it. It gets even worse because you end up having to be the asshole (or hire a lawyer) to serve C&D notices just to prove that you are defending your mark. All this so you don't end up being on the receiving end of a C&D notice even though it is incredibly unlikely but still a very, very distant possibility if the stars line up, the planets align, peace breaks out in the Middle East and the cure is found for AIDS and cancer.
mandyseley
Dec. 22nd, 2010 12:15 pm (UTC)
No trademark, no legal standing, and typically he with the most cash gets to decide who wins a conflict of trademarked names.

For smaller businesses, though, it's usually of no concern unless your business is very similar to the other. "Apple," for example, applies both to the well-known computer group and to a lesser-known (these days) recording studio.

There's very little overlap between your art studio and a band and a fansub studio, and I'm willing to bet that all three are small businesses without the funds necessary to trademark the name. To be honest, it's a little annoying, but unless one starts claiming to be you or something, I wouldn't actually worry much about it.
nambroth
Dec. 22nd, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
Again with everyone else-- unlike copyright (where, in a nutshell, if you create something that is not derivative of someone else's work [and then sometimes even if it is depending if you have permission or not etc] then you own the copyright immediately and registering it is just a formal action) trademark works quite a bit differently, and what you are looking for is a trademark. If you want to even mess with it at all! Trademark must be legally registered and actively protected in order for you to own it. And, like mentioned above, trademarking existing words such as "Apple" only applies within the bounds of what you are selling. You can not have another "Apple" Computers because that trademark is already owned, but you could have "Apple" Teacher Supply, for example. Because the two companies sell a very different product or service, they can both own a trademark on the word "Apple" in relation to their company and product/service. For example there is the Delta airlines brand and a Delta Dental brand, and no one is going to be confused that they are getting on an airplane when they enter a dentist's office (after some N2O on the other hand....).

A trademark is also something that is an indicator as to your 'brand'-- that is, it represent a product or service to your customers (e.g. the Nike 'swoosh' or the Apple logo, or just the word "Disney", etc).

So, you have to decide if you want to go through the trouble and expense of registering and maintaining a trademark, and decide if the other folks using your studio name sell a similar product as you. Otherwise you can contact the other people and see if they want to compromise, but if they don't unfortunately there's nothing you can do.

Best wishes!
mandyseley
Dec. 22nd, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
I totally feel like I'm flying on N20... woo hoo Delta! XD
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
nambroth
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Exactly!
who_was_phone
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice (and everyone else too). Would it be a wise idea to say on my art site that I am not affiliated with the fansub group? Since I draw anime...
nambroth
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
That, I think, is personal preference. If people ARE confusing you with another group, it might be helpful. As an example, for a while when I was younger I woefully thought that Discovery magazine and Discovery channel were the same company since they are both science-related. I was very wrong and only found out once the magazine put a little blurb in 'hey we have nothing to do with these other Discovery guys' -- so yes, it can be helpful when there is confusion! Otherwise it may be unnecessary. Up to you. :)
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
who_was_phone
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
You have good points. It's not so much that I am upset about this, it's just that I am worried about drama from the other parties...since it feels like people are addicted to unnecessary drama, imo.

I just don't want to have to end up losing my name due to one of the other groups, because I've been in business since 2003, and have over a thousand business cards swimming around.
bunny_hugger
Dec. 22nd, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
This looks to be a useful overview of trademark law:

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/domain/tm.htm
torikonero
Dec. 22nd, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
It doesn't matter when you started using the name, because at that time you did not trademark it. The only time dates matter is when you say "Well, I trademarked this name in 2005, and you started using it in 2007," or something similar. Even then, someone using the same name does not HAVE to stop using it or give you domains/e-mails/etc unless you reach an agreement with them, or whatever they are doing can be confused with you. All you can do is politely ask them to change their name, and be ok with them if they don't.
fatkraken
Dec. 22nd, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
so, what's the name?

c'mon, we're on tenterhooks here
lilenth
Dec. 22nd, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)

You need to register a trademark on the name and use it for interstate commerce for it to be formally protected and even then there are limits. So currently if you have not completed the requirements for formal protection, it's not protected and you can do nothing.

Even if you had these guys are not in direct competition with you and their products are not the same as your own so no judge would rule in your favour since there is no possible confusion there.

It's like how Easy Jet have their name trademarked, however they could not shut down Easy Car (a care hire company local to a major airport) because both sold different products and thus were ruled to be clearly distinct businesses and no brand confusion was possible.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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