Copyright law does not permit you to protect your performing name, as copyright law only allows for the protection of computer software and dramatic, literary and other artistic works. Although it is not possible to copyright your performing name, you may trademark your performing name in order to protect your rights. It will be easier to trademark your performing name if your performing name is an arbitrary name such as Led Zeppelin or Slayer. However, if you intend to use your own name you may still proceed to apply for a trademark, but you will need to prove that your name has acquired secondary meaning in the eyes of the public.
Check to see if your performing name is already in use by another party. Start by searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Electronic Search System. Additionally, you should search state trademark databases, the Internet, phone books and general listings. If you attempt to trademark a performing name that is already in use you could face a lawsuit for trademark infringement.
Read More: How to Legally Copyright a Name
Complete a trademark application with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. You may obtain a paper from from the USPTO or you may apply online through the Trademark Electronic Application Service, TEAS. Provide the USPTO your background information, a statement as to the types of goods and services you intend to offer under your performing name, and the date you began using your performing name in public.
Upload a specimen showing the use of your mark in commerce to the USPTO. You may submit any specimen you want as long as it is in PDF, JPG, AVI, WAV, WMV, WMA, MPG or AVI format. The purpose of the specimen is to provide actual proof that you are performing under the name you intend to register.
Pay the filing fee associated with your trademark application and submit the application to the USPTO.
You should take great care in performing a background search for other similar performing names. Consider consulting an attorney or an online legal services provider.
If you have a graphic or logo associated with your performing name, you may include the logo as part of your trademark application in order to protect your rights.
- USPTO: How do I file a Trademark Application?
- Delicious Audio: What's in a Name?
- American Songwriter: Protecting Your Band Name as a Trademark
- Scott and Scott: Trademark Guide: Criteria for Registration on the Principal Register
- USPTO: Trademark Basics
- Music Law: Naming the Band & Protecting the Name of Your Band
Louis Kroeck started writing professionally under the direction of Andrew Samtoy from the "Cleveland Sandwich Board" in 2006. Kroeck is an attorney out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specializing in civil litigation, intellectual property law and entertainment law. He has a B.S from the Pennsylvania State University in information science technology and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.