Can You Copyright the Name of Your Band to Protect its Integrity? 

Almost all music artists want to name their bands uniquely, as this name will be a sign of identity for them in the future. Once you have chosen a distinctive name for your band, you should prevent others from using this name to maintain uniqueness. However, you may be unable to copyright the band name, as they do not fall under the creative property. 

Nevertheless, musicians still want to protect their band name to avoid conflict when they become famous. Throughout this article, we will try to introduce you to the best way to protect the name of your band to prevent identity theft. 

Part 1. Is it Possible to Copyright the Band Name for Protection? 

No, bands do not get the option to copyright their name to prevent it from future identity theft. These names don’t fall under the category of creative property, such as songs, poems, or books. Therefore, you cannot copyright these names just like you don’t have the option to copyright regular names. You must be wondering how to protect band names if you can’t copyright them. 

Bands looking for a perfect method to protect their names can use the trademark method. We will discuss the process of trademarking band names in detail in the later section of this article to help bands protect their identity. 

Part 2. Copyright vs. Trademark: What’s the Difference? 

As mentioned, bands cannot copyright their names to protect their identity. However, they can trademark the name to prevent others from using it in the future. Go through this comparison table to comprehend why you can’t copyright band names but apply trademark protection on them. 

MetricsCopyrightTrademark
DefinitionArtists can protect their original work, such as books and music, from unauthorized usage with the help of copyright.  Trademarks are used to protect words, phrases, and designs that identify the source of products.
Purpose This method proves to help protect the expression of ideas or creative works.Companies or groups use trademarks to protect brands, logos, and other identifiers. 
Protects ExpressionYes No 
RegistrationYou don’t have to apply for copyright for essential protection. However, registration strengthens the rights and allows you to deliver public notice to other parties. Trademark requires registration with the appropriate government authority. For example, you must register through USPTO to trademark your band name in the United States.
Enforcement Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses the copyrighted work without permission. Whether they have used this work for distribution or public performance, this will fall under copyright infringement. A competitor using the trademarked name to confuse the users will fall under the infringement category. 
Government AgencyU.S. Copyright Office (Library of Congress)U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Examples of Protected ContentBooksMusicPhotographs Articles Songs Band Name Company Logo Brand Slogan Taglines 

Part 3. Why Should You Choose to Trademark Band Name? 

Upon understanding the general concept behind trademarking band names, let’s shift our discussion towards the reason you should choose to do so. A band will enjoy the following benefits after trademarking their name for future protection:

benefits of trademarking the band name
  1. Band Protection: You will get legal protection for your band’s name and logo if you trademark the name before becoming famous. Doing so will prevent others from using a similar name in a way that could cause confusion among fans or listeners.
  2. Exclusive Rights: Trademark registration gives you exclusive rights to use this name in connection with the type of music or entertainment services. No one other than you can utilize this band name, which will help you establish a unique identity in the music industry. 
  3. Prevent Confusion: Using this protection method, you can prevent others from confusing fans when selling their music. These trademarked names ensure that your audience can identify you when others try to exploit your fame. 
  4. Licensing Opportunities: Bands can open up opportunities for merchandising deals after trademarking their names. Once they get famous, bands can license their name for use on various merchandise such as clothing and accessories. This will result in generating additional revenue streams for their band.
  5. Enforcement Rights: After registering your name, you can get the legal right to enforce it against infringers. You also have the option to take action to stop others from using your band name and seek damages.

Part 4. Significant Risk Associated with Not Trademarking Band Names

Musicians who prefer not to trademark their name to save themselves from the time-consuming process can face its consequences. Moreover, some newly formed bands may not have the finances to protect their names from theft. Irrespective of the cause, you will face the following problems if you don’t trademark your band name:

  1. Loss of Identity: Without a trademark registration, other bands can steal your identity by using the same name. Your listeners or fans can get confused with similar names and may choose to go to their concert without knowing. 
  2. Legal Battles: Other bands can take this opportunity to trademark your name to claim exclusive rights for future usage. Afterward, you will have to fight a legal war against the other band to win back the right to use your name again. 
  3. Band Reputation Damage: Other artists with the same name can indulge in controversial activities, causing a negative impact on your band’s reputation. However, a trademark will distinguish your band from others to avoid such issues.
  4. Loss of Revenue: Someone using your band name without authorization can damage potential revenue streams. Moreover, this issue can affect your ability to secure performance opportunities or sponsorships.
  5. Inability to Enforce Rights: Without a registered name, bands will find it difficult to enforce their rights against infringing parties. In addition, your band will not be entitled to specific remedies available to trademark owners.

Part 5. How to Make Sure Your Band Name is not Trademarked Before? 

Musicians need to do complete research before designating a name for their band. They need to ensure that the name they have chosen is not used by other artists to avoid any future legal battle. Bands belonging to any particular country can search through the trademark database website for this purpose. 

The steps given below will help you prevent any future action against your band if you are living in the U.S. by verifying the availability of names:

Step 1. Start the process by visiting the official USPTO website on your favored browser. Now, hover your mouse over the “Trademark” tab to access a drop-down menu. From here, click on the “Search Our Trademark Database” option to reach a new screen. 

tap search our trademark database

Step 2. Upon reaching this new page, you can read the general information about this database. After learning how to search through this database, press the “Trademark Search System” button on the left to verify the name you have chosen has not been trademarked before. 

press trademark search system button

Step 3. Moving forward, type the name of your band in the “Search for Words in the Character” text box to find the similar named bands. Moreover, you can perform the targeted search operation by entering a category, such as “Band,” in the “Refine Search by Goods or Services” text box. Finally, hit the “Search” icon to get the results.  

search for the band name

Part 6. How to Trademark Your Band Name without Any Issues? 

Bands who have no knowledge about trademarking their name can go through these general steps to get an idea about the registration process. Follow the instructions given below to perform this procedure without any help from your lawyer:

  1. Pick a Unique Band Name 

A group of musicians should brainstorm different ideas before selecting a final name for their band. You need to pick a name that is catchy and unique to catch the attention of the listeners. For example, you may be familiar with these two bands names: “The Beatles” and “Chainsmokers.” 

Both these bands have unique names that are easily recognizable by the listeners. For this purpose, you can get help from different websites, including Name Generator, to come up with an innovative identity. 

generate a name for your band
  1. Conduct a Trademark Search 

After finalizing the band name, you need to ensure that the name is not already utilized. To do so, you need to visit the USPTO website and follow the steps explained above to complete the procedure. You need to do thorough research, especially related to the names in your industry, to avoid any future conflicts.  

finalize the band name
  1. File a Trademark Application 

Upon verifying the availability of your selected name, you can choose to file a trademark application through the USPTO website or your lawyer. Most bands prefer to file this registration application to avoid any legal hassle. 

However, you can simply go to the website and create a new account to verify your national identity. Once you are logged into your TEAS account, fill in the information into the relevant categories to ensure successful application submission.  

file trademark application 

The person filling out the application should have the ownership information and evidence of use to avoid issues. Moreover, you should ensure that the information provided on this website is all correct to save yourself from future consequences. Most importantly, band owners must avoid spacing or spelling errors while trademarking their names using online applications. 

Part 7. Errors You Need to Avoid When Trademarking Band Name 

While trying to trademark your band name following the steps explained above, you need to avoid some common errors to ensure a smooth process. Let’s analyze all these pitfalls you need to avoid if you want to complete the registration without any problem:

  1. Using a Generic Name: The primary purpose of trademarked names is to avoid any confusion among listeners. Therefore, you must avoid using generic names, such as “The Rock Band” or “Heavy Metal Thunder,” which may not get approved. 
  2. Ignoring Future Use Cases: Bands need to think beyond music when trademarking their name. They should prefer choosing a name that will look good on merchandise, such as clothing and accessories. Other than that, consider future partnerships and sponsorships while picking a band name. 
  3. Lack of Proof of Use: When registering a name in the U.S., you’ll need to provide proof of use of your band name for commercial use. While filling in the application, attach sufficient evidence, such as album covers and promotional material, to demonstrate its use in the industry. 
  4. Disregarding International Considerations: You should also consider future foreign tours and international music distribution when applying for a trademark. Therefore, we recommend you apply for registration in other countries to protect your rights. 

Part 8. How Much Money Do You Require to Trademark Band Name? 

While paying registration fees for trademarking names, your payment will depend on various factors. For example, your initial cost will depend on the type of application you have picked to register your name. 

Moreover, the number of classes of goods and services picked will affect the payment of your application. Everyone has to choose from two initial payment options before applying for a trademark. 

Option 1TEAS PlusPay $250 per class of services
Option 2TEAS StandardPay $350 per class of services

Besides these basic costs, bands may also need to pay extra charges based on their filled information. After your name is registered, you’ll need to pay maintenance fees periodically to keep your registration active.

Last Words

Once you go through this whole article, you will realize that there is no way to copyright your band name. However, you can protect the name of the band from identity theft with the help of trademark registration. 

For this purpose, you have to pick the name of your music group which has not already been taken by someone else. Afterward, bands can simply apply for a trademark via the USPTO website for identity protection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to choose a unique band name?

To choose a unique band name, try to avoid using generic terms. Rather, be creative and choose a name that specifically reflects your personality and music style. Other than this, make sure the name you choose is completely new and has not registered with USPTO yet. To confirm this, you can search for registered trademarks from the official USPTO website or hire someone to do so.

Q2. Why is it important to register a Band name with USPTO?

When you register your band name with USPTO, it will be protected nationwide, giving you all the right to use it. Also, you will have the authority to sue those who try to use your registered band name without permission. 

Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you register as soon as possible. However, to ensure a smooth processing experience, you may need to hire a professional attorney who handles all these works.

Q3. How do you register a Band name with USPTO?

Once you are done selecting the desired band name, you can register it with USPTO. The process is a bit complicated and may involve multiple steps, like filling out the application form, paying the fee, and putting your band name under examination. But there’s nothing to worry about, as you can get assistance from an attorney to navigate through the process effectively.

Q4. Why can’t band names be copyrighted?

Band names are not creative works that you can copyright against any infringement. They are considered more as identifiers and contribute to the distinct authorization of bands. Therefore, they don’t qualify for the copyright terms and conditions.

Q5. Can trademarking my band name lead to additional revenue streams?

Yes, it can potentially lead to additional revenue streams through licensing opportunities. Once your band becomes well-known, you can license your name for use on various merchandise and other things. Thus, you can utilize this system to build much more revenue. 

Q6. What common errors should I avoid when trademarking my band name?

Common errors to avoid when trademarking your band name include using generic names that may not be approved and ignoring potential future uses of the name. Other than this, try to avoid failure in providing sufficient proof of use and neglecting international considerations if you plan to operate or tour internationally.

Q7. How much does it cost to trademark my band name?

The cost of trademarking your band name can vary depending on several factors, including the type of application, the number of classes of goods and services, and any additional charges based on application details. Initial fees typically range from $250 to $350 per class of services, and a maintenance fee is required periodically to keep the registration active.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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