The Fight Over a Band Name – Stone Temple Pilots

The popular rock band Stone Temple Pilots has filed suit against their long time lead singer Scott Weiland for allegedly misappropriating the band’s name to further his own solo career.  According to the band’s complaint, the other members of Stone Temple Pilots were forced to expel Weiland from the band after he allegedly breached his obligation to the other members under their written Partnership Agreement. The main grievance with Weiland is that he was not making Stone Temple Pilots “his first musical priority” and pursuing his solo career (where Weiland was using the Stone Temple Pilots name and musical compositions) over Stone Temple Pilots related activities. Likewise, the other members allege that Weiland was skipping Stone Temple Pilots related promotional appearances and live performances, allegedly costing the band millions.  The lawsuit states that Weiland has “blatantly interfered with the airplay of the band’s new single and a national promotional campaign by falsely claiming that the band is somehow infringing Weiland’s rights.”  The suit charges the band’s former lead singer with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Lanham Act, and declaratory and injunctive relief, and seeks a jury trial.  The group is seeking monetary damages in excess of $2 million, which they claim stems from Weiland’ s breach of contract in his “wrongful use of the band’s name, goodwill, and other assets.”

In response, Weiland has countersued to stop the other members of the band from performing without him, or with their new lead singer, Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park fame).   Weiland responded to a recent performance of Stone Temple Pilots with Bennington in a “letter to his fans”  by stating, “they don’t have the ethical right to call themselves Stone Temple Pilots because its misleading and dishonest… I don’t give a f*** what they call themselves, but it’s not Stone Temple Pilots.” It is expected further litigation will occur between the parties as this dispute escalates.

This serves as a great example of why you need an experienced entertainment attorney in the music industry. This dispute between the members of Stone Temple Pilot will be governed by the band’s Partnership Agreement which (hopefully) outlines various rights and responsibilities that each member of the partnership is required to do, as well as what activities each member is allowed to do outside of or after the termination of the partnership. This document governs the entire relationship of a band and is best made at the beginning of a band’s existence. Make sure you protect yourself as best as possible by treating your band as a business and getting the requisite paperwork done before you take the stage to rock.

Bradley Legal Group, P.A. are Intellectual Property lawyers, Entertainment lawyers and Music lawyers servicing clients in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Orlando, and Nashville. We also affiliate with entertainment lawyers licensed in New York and Washington, D.C. © 2013 Bradley Legal Group, P.A