TRADEMARKS FOR ARTISTES
Generally, the intellectual property which artistes are more concerned about/is Copyright. However, it is not the only intellectual property which artistes should be concerned about. An intellectual property which artistes should take seriously is “Trademarks”. Just like copyrights, trademarks are a form of protection. They protect anything, including words, names, logos, etc., used to brand/distinguish a good or service. In the case of an artiste, it protects the things used to identify the artiste and the services they provide. This includes logos, song titles, and unique phrases the artiste uses in their lyrics.
One of the main benefits of trademarks, especially for artistes, is that it helps prevent unfair competition. For instance, another artiste may benefit from your goodwill if you bear similar stage names or have identical logos/marks with them. Your fans may be misled and patronise
the other artiste, thinking it is you. This may lead to revenue loss and create confusion for the fans. Also, given how accessible music is to the general populace, individuals and brands can easily leverage the popularity of a particular song, lyrics or artiste brand, even if they do not have
permission to do so. Although some may do this ignorantly, it does not change the fact that it may reduce/cut into the profits the artiste is entitled to from exploiting their marks. The best way to prevent this is by registering qualified works as trademarks. This gives
the artiste legal rights to quickly stop such unlawful exploitation, license such marks, and be entitled to the profit obtained from such unauthorised exploitation.
There are 45 classes which a mark can be registered under. These classes are divided into “Goods” and “Services”. However, registration in a class only protects your mark from being used by a competitor in that class. This means that you may need to register in multiple classes to prevent anyone from using your marks. It is best to consult a lawyer for advice on the classes to register your mark. To register a trademark, the first step is to search the relevant trademark registry to ensure no one existing trademark registration/protection for the mark you want to register. If there is, or even if it is similar, your application will most likely be rejected, as it can lead to confusion if there are two identical trademark registrations in the same class. A google search can also help reveal this, although it is best to search at the trademark registry. Having determined that the name you want to trademark does not have an existing or similar registration, the next step is to choose the class(es) you wish to register under and then submit the application.
In some countries, you may need to prove the usage of the mark before the application can be successful. Once the application is successful, you will be given a trademark certificate, which grants you exclusive rights to use that particular mark or logo. In conclusion, artistes should ensure that they protect their stage names, logos, and slogans by obtaining trademark protections. By doing this, they prevent unauthorised use and can also exploit the same through licensing.
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