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Creating an Identity

Quick Checklist

Name - Choose a name that suits you — you will have to live with it for a long time, so make sure that it has a timeless quality. 

Check your name — thoroughly research your potential name online, via companies house and IPO, to make sure it does not belong to someone else already.

Create a logo — this can boost your visibility, but make sure the designer assigns copyright to you in writing.

Website - you will either need your own website or you will need to be visible on others

Social Media - It can be beneficial to have a presence on social media, such as Twitter or Facebook

Buy a trademark — if your name has already been trademarked, another party could stop you from using it.

For further information click on the links below:

It’s pretty important that you choose a name that you’re not going to have a problem with later. If you don’t conduct a thorough search — online, Companies House, the IPO — you may find you’ve pressed up T-shirts and album covers and lost all that money if you then have to rethink your name.

Registering a name

Search bandname.com, an industry standard online band name registry, to see if any other acts are trading with the name that you wish to use. If it is not in use, you can register your name there.

Although there is no legal recognition of bandname.com’s system, if all musical acts used it, conflicts over monikers could be reduced or eliminated. Online registration costs US $12, and includes automatic free entry into a worldwide band and artist directory, along with a newsletter and other perks.

You can perform under your own name and no one can take that right away from you, no matter how many others share it, provided your use ‘is in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters’.

I have the legal right to trade as Keith Ames, as long as I’m not doing so dishonestly, even if someone else is calling themselves it, because it’s my name.

Keith Ames, MU Communication Official

Websites

If you plan some sort of internet presence, several websites allow you to search for the domain names available in all of the territories you want to trade in. You will need a domain that is clear and unambiguous to fans who are searching for your website.

Especially when performing under your own name, it is sometimes worth buying up several domain names, in case you want to establish another web presence at some future point. For example, you may already have sarahsnedley.com but you could also purchase .co.uk and sarahsnedley.tv. You can also purchase a universal domain name (.com, .tv), or buy for a particular territory, e.g. the UK (.co.uk) or EU (.eu).

Forming a company

Registering a limited company in your band name would prevent anyone else using the same company name. You can perform an online search to see if your band name is available from Companies House.

Buying a trademark

Although it is the most effective way to protect your band name, registering it as trademark can be expensive, and will only be effective in the territories in which you register. A UK trademark only covers the UK. A US trademark only covers the US. A Community trademark only covers the European Union. So to gain worldwide protection you would have to register in every territory in the world. 

It’s up to each band to decide whether they need or can afford to register a trademark. It is probably not worth it for an amateur band playing infrequently, but if the band has been going for a few years and has built up a reputation and following, then they may feel the name is worth protecting so no-one else can steal it

Registering can be expensive — fees start at £175 to register a trademark just in the UK, and just in one class, and £50 for each additional class. And if you get a trademark attorney, trademark agent or lawyer involved to help you through the process and deal with any problems, then you will have their fees to pay too.

In order to rule out names that have previously been trademarked in the UK, EU or USA, and for more information on the subject log onto the UK Intellectual Property Office , the EU Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market, or the United States Patent and Trademark Office.