Twin Falls Claims U.S. Band Stole Identity
, March 28th, 2013 15:55
UK indie folk act Twin Falls posts account detailing Dashboard Confessional singer's alleged appropriation of band name
Luke Stidson, aka Twin Falls, an indie folk artist from Somerset, has posted an account on his website, claiming to detail how Chris Carrabba, better known as the songwriting force behind weepy emo types Dashboard Confessional, and his management overpoweringly appropriated his band name of five years for Carrabba's new project.
In the post entitled 'How Dashboard Confessional Stole My Identity: A Cautionary Tale For Bands', Stidson, whose band came to light with their 2009 track ‘Janie I Will Only Let You Down’, writes that he became aware of Carrabba setting up a new band called Twin Falls earlier this year. After attempting to contact one of Carrabba's representatives, he got an e-mail back from his manager, Rich Egan, informing him that he would shortly hear from his lawyer. "Had he/Chris/the band noticed that I existed when they chose that name for their band? Presumably they’d noticed the iTunes listing or the Wikipedia page under the heading ‘Twin Falls (band)’?" writes Stidson.
The lawyer consequently told Stidson both that his claim to the name was "dubious at best" and that as the band name was a place name, it couldn't be trademarked under U.S. law, though Carrabba would continue to operate under the name.
After pursuing the issue further with Egan, he struggled to get responses from the manager, eventually being told that employing suffixes - Twin Falls UK/U.S. - may be a route round the problem. Stidson pointed out that this presented a number of problems - placement of the band's respective records in shops, simultaneous tours - but Egan's responses tailed off, leaving the issue at something of a stalemate.
Having sought his own legal advice, Stidson writes that it transpires that "regardless of how long we have been using the name, any attempt to stop the other party using it will have to involve a lengthy journey through the courts. In other words, at the end of the day, the person who has the most money and therefore the resource to fight their case to the bitter end, will win".
As Stidson points out, it's essentially indicative of a greater problem now, with the internet breaking down spatial barriers, than it was previously: "The grey area of whether two established bands can co-exist with the same name is surely even greyer these days with the need for an online presence being such as it is."
However, interesting as this may be, it does seem to represent a sad indictment that bands without the necessary financial readies are unlikely to succeed in such circumstances. As Stidson concludes, the only route round this is to pick a band name less frequently chosen: "Anyway, please consider this a lesson to all musicians. It is a potentially career-crippling blow for me but it doesn’t have to be for you. Name your band Scunthorpe."
Read the account in full here.