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Does the author have to protect his name?

Authors, and especially musicians, are guided in their creative work by special creative energy and freedom. Their spirit seems to be far more unfettered than the spirit of us, “ordinary people”. The creative freedom needed for the creation of works of art often leads to artists not viewing their “vocation” as a job. Namely, led by their artistic inspiration, the authors often don’t take into account some worldly issues, including legal regulations and regulatory frameworks that are important for their business. They usually become aware of that only when things get so complicated that even the identity of the author is called into question.

One of the most famous cases is certainly the case of protection of the name of the famous Prince. Namely, the author of the song Purple Rain, one of the greatest songs of all time, was forced to change his artistic name “Prince” in the mid-nineties of the last century, after almost two decades of a spectacular career. Instead of protecting his artistic name, which is also his business brand, with a trademark, his publishing company forbade him to use it after he fell into their disfavour. Prince was forced then to change the name under which he performed and he started to use the so-called “Love symbol”. As a sign of protest, from that moment on, he performed with the word slave written on his cheek. One can only imagine how this influenced his creativity which was undoubtedly disturbed by these events, let alone the business reputation, the added value created by the brand itself.

The media covered this case to a great extent, which significantly raised the awareness of many authors and musicians around the world about the importance of protecting one’s own artistic name with a trademark. There are many musicians today who, drawing on the Prince’s experience, have protected their artistic name with a trademark, as well as the slogan by which they are recognizable.

When we speak about the Serbian market, the trend of an increasing interest for this type of legal protection has been noticeable only in recent years. A great example is the musician Coby, on whose behalf Mirkov Law filed a trademark application for his slogan, which can be heard at the beginning of every song he makes: “Coby, did you do the tape?”. The application and registration of the said trademark, which includes both his artistic name and his famous slogan, has resonated in music circles as a positive example in practice, so more and more musicians are addressing us with similar demands.

It is especially interesting to see that, according to the applications filed so far, the musicians of the “older” generation recognize the importance of protecting their name with a trademark batter than their younger colleagues. Nevertheless, the increase in the number of enquiries that we are receiving from authors is more than encouraging.

Recognizing the importance of trademark protection in this case has not only the all-round important commercial component, but also contributes to greater creative freedom, because it does not burden it with legal and administrative challenges.

If we go back to the question from the title of this article, the answer would be: Yes, you should definitely protect your artistic name. Thus, you will avoid a number of potential problems that could jeopardize your business and, more importantly, your creativity.