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Friday, 9 July 2004


This from Findlaw: a federal judge has rejected a request by singer Axl Rose to stop an independent record label from releasing an album called "Hollywood Rose: The Roots of Guns N' Roses". Cleopatra Records had purchased the rights to some recordings of Hollywood Rose, which included Axl Rose and Jeffrey "Izzy Stradlin'" Isbell, who later formed Guns N' Roses. Rose, also identified in court documents as William Bruce Bailey, together with other GNR members Saul "Slash" Hudson and Michael "Duff" McKagan objected to the release of the album when they learned of its title.

Cleopatra Records brought the case to court to determine its rights. Rose and the others filed a counterclaim and also sought a preliminary injunction. U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess denied the request for an injunction by citing the "nominative fair use" doctrine. Federal law allows a person to use another's trade mark

"to identify the trade mark owner's product or service, for the purpose of making a comparison, stating a criticism or establishing a point of reference".
the judge wrote in his ruling. Hollywood Rose lasted for about nine months in the mid-1980s and recorded a demo tape. Former band member Chris Weber, whose parents paid for the demo, sold his rights to the recordings in November 2003 to Cleopatra Records. With Rose as frontman, Guns N' Roses reached superstar status in the late 1980s after the release of "Appetite for Destruction", which includes hits such as "Paradise City", "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle".

The IPKat, a robust supporter of the doctrine of nominative fair use, wonders why trade mark owners (or their lawyers) so often seem to forget it when they take the trip to court.

More on guns here, here and here
More on roses here and here
Cleopatra records here and here

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