by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 4th 2008 12:01pm
If you're a music fan, and you hear of a band called "The Wailers," your first thought is most likely to be the band originally formed with Bob Marley, which continued to perform well after Marley's death. However, there's apparently another band called "The Wailers" that was formed in Seattle in 1959, pre-dating Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer getting together at Studio One in Kingston for Coxsone Dodd in 1963. Obviously, that was a long, long time ago, so it was a bit strange that the Seattle Wailers sued the Jamaican Wailers back in June for trademark violation. Considering the two bands had coexisted in some manner for 45 years, you would think there wouldn't be much of a problem. In fact, the Seattle Wailers only registered a trademark on the name in 2003. And, while they complained that the Jamaican Wailers owned the wailers.com domain name, that was registered before 2003. Luckily a judge has agreed, and told the Seattle Wailers that they waited way too long to file such a lawsuit, and there's no evidence that the Jamaican Wailers did anything in bad faith with their name or domain name. This is a good ruling, at least, but even the fact that the Seattle Wailers thought it was worth taking a shot at such a lawsuit shows how the concept of "intellectual property" has been changing recently. It really has reached the point, where people are associating any kind of intellectual property with having total and complete rights over things that shouldn't be limited that way. In an age where copyright, patent and trademark lawsuits are so commonplace, it's really no surprise that folks would dredge up a situation that had worked fine for 45 years and try to make a lawsuit out of it.
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