10.07.2016

The C&C Music Factory Trademark Battle And Other Problems

I'm sure everyone knows this song by now...

While most musicians out there would wish for a hit like this (for the money and cultural stickiness, I mean), they would not want the disaster that erupted after.  From Thump:
Since the late-90s, "Everybody Dance Now" and the name "C&C Music Factory" have been the subject of a bitter battle between the group's co-founder, Clivillés, and the now 50-year-old Williams, who left the group shortly after C&C Music Factory's Billboard Awards appearance to pursue a solo career. 
Though he departed from the group in 1992, Williams legally trademarked the C&C Music Factory name in 2005. According to Clivillés, Williams has been performing shows under the C&C Music Factory moniker since the 90s, including recent shows in United States, Australia, and Brazil. Now, Clivillés is saying that Williams is profiting unfairly by positioning himself as the group's main (or only) member—when he was merely hired on contract as an ensemble player.
I think this article is worth reading for anyone trying to get into the music industry as part of a group because it shows how relationships built on shaky foundations fail so readily.  If you don't have family ties or a strong trusting friendship then you NEED strong contracts to keep the musical unit cohesive (I would say that even with strong family ties and friendships, you should still have strong contracts). 

Upon finishing this article, I wondered:

  • who drafted the contracts for co-founders Robert Clivillés and David Cole? They seem to have missed some clauses that could have protected them.
  • why didn't Clivillés lawyer not advise him to trademark his band's name and logo in 1991?
  • why did Clivillés do nothing in 2005 when Frederick "Freedom" Williams legally trademarked "C&C Music Factory" under his birth name, Frederick Williams?
  • why did Clivillés do nothing in 2015 when Freedom trademarked "C&C Music Factory" under his company, Freedom Williams Entertainment LLC?
I'm curious to know if this trademark case will be resolved in or out of court. 
Stay tuned.

Jiminian Law PLLC is devoted to helping clients in all areas of business, copyrights, trademark and entertainment law.  Providing knowledgeable and effective representation are the keys to my success and helping you with issues ranging from contracts to trademark are the keys to YOUR success in music.  Danny Jiminian, Esq. is available for a free consultation if you call him at 917.388.3574 / 929.322.3546 or email him at danny@djimlaw.com.

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