For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Rhythmix: nadir or Nirvana for band names?

With all that the dust whipped up by the glamorous showbiz dispute over the band name Buck's Fizz, barely settled (writes the IPKat's friend Andy Johnstone), here comes news of a new trade mark row in the music world, reported here by the Press Association. It concerns a band consisting of teenagers currently appearing on  th eX Factor TV show called Rhythmix -- and a charity based in the South East of England, also called Rhythmix.

It appears that the charity has owned the UK figurative trade mark 2411527 (right) since 2006 which registered in class 41 (education) although it says it's a music-based organisation providing opportunities for children, hence its concern over possible confusion. At present the band is refusing to back down.

A closer look at the name Rhythmix shows that neither of the aforementioned entities has any claim to originality. There is the CTM E2146090 LP Rhythmix (left) registered to a Bloomfield,  Connecticut, company for goods in class 15 (musical instruments) -- first registered in 2002 but with a priority date of 2000), not to mention a California-based organisation called Rhythmix Cultural Works which claims to have been 'inspiring the community [of Alameda, Califorma] to engage in the arts and strengthen the value of creativity and discovery in everyday life' for the past five years.

Nor does the story end there. Also from the United States we have a  DJ and producer/remixer  named appropriately Rhythmix, a female a cappella group, a company in Illinois providing a rhythmic gymnastics program which seeks to differentiate its identity by calling themselves RhythMix,  and not forgetting the album entitled Rhythmix put out by a Belgian group called Univers Zero, and something described as a computer game in which 'maths quiz meets rhythm games' called Rhythmix Calculix. A heady mix indeed, says Andy who adds: "We may have to wait for the eventual winner to be announced!".

This member of the IPKat team sympathises with anyone whose trade name and identity is swamped by a Johnny-come-lately who goes and overwhelms it by sheer force of fame.  One of the largest musical influences in his cultural development as a teenager in the 1960s was a talented British band by the name of Nirvana.  It created some quirky stuff, of which its hit single "Rainbow Chaser" and its ground-breaking narrative concept album The Story of Simon Simopath were good reflections.  Anyway, the next thing the Kat knew was that some grunge band from the other side of the planet had helped itself to exactly the same name.  According to Everett True (Nirvana: the Biography, Da Capo Press 2007) the later Nirvana settled the British group's California legal suit for US$100,000 on terms that permitted concurrent use of the groups' name.  Cheap at the price, says this Kat. Merpel says: beware -- much music that sounded really exciting and original when it came out in the 1960s sounds quite dreadful today.

2 comments:

Michael Evans said...

Interesting article. Of course, it's not a million miles away from Dave Stewart's The Eurythmics either, is it?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Tulisa took one of the bands (The Risk) - took the lead singer alone and mashed him up with the best singers from other failed group/solo auditions... and retained the name!

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