Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Beatlemania has a new venue — the federal courthouse in Las Vegas.
Lawsuits between competing musical groups pop up from time to time, but those battles of the bands usually are over which side has the right to use the name of a band after most of its original members have died or retired. Because “the entertainment capital of the world” didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire between dueling bands, for example, or become the target of angry concertgoers, Nevada lawmakers passed legislation in 2007 that prohibits musicians from falsely affiliating themselves with a particular band.
This case is different. The two bands aren’t trying to claim they really are the lads from Liverpool. This is a battle over who the genuine fakes are.
The Fab Four has produced and performed tributes to the Beatles since 1996. Touring extensively in this country and abroad, the company’s productions included the Fab Four Mania shows held at the Aladdin, Planet Hollywood, Sahara and Riviera on the Strip from 2005 through 2008. Since its formation, The Fab Four claims to have performed more than 2,000 shows and generated more than $15 million in gross revenue.
The Fab 4, the defendant based in Mead, Colo., bills itself as Colorado’s premier Beatles tribute band. Though it has done some traveling, most of its recent performances have been in its home state, according to its website.
The lawsuit alleges that The Fab 4 is “essentially identical in sound and appearance” to The Fab Four – referring to the names of the bands and their websites.
By using “Fab 4,” the defendants are “attempting to trade” on the reputation and success of The Fab Four, the lawsuit states. The Fab Four is asking the court to prevent the Fab 4 from using any trademark that sounds like “Fab Four” and is seeking monetary damages.
In other words, The Fab Four doesn’t want The Fab 4 cashing in on The Fab Four’s cashing in on the Beatles.
Because the names are similar, the lawsuit claims, people who are looking for The Fab Four on the Internet wind up going instead to The Fab 4’s website, and the situation is causing confusion among “consumers searching” for The Fab Four’s “entertainment services.”
So it may take a judge to force the two sides to “Come Together.” Maybe they can leave the courthouse singing “We Can Work It Out.”