Heritage band name dispute drifts towards the High Court

April 2007


The Drifters are one of the longest serving groups in the history of popular music – and hits like Under The Broadwalk., Saturday Night at The Movies and Save The Last Dance for Me have made them pretty influential as well. But now members in the current line up – who are amongst the fifty or so singers who have been in the Drifters, face a legal action from the wife of the band’s ex-manager who claims she owns the right to the name The Drifters. Faye Treadwell claims she is the legal owner of the name – which her husband brought from the original band in 1954 – and that he ran the band as a business, employing various signers to tour and record as The Drifters. Ms Treadwell is bringing an action in the UK against the band known as the Drifters (who themselves have lodged UK and European CTM trade mark applications for the name) and in the USA against a number of ‘Drifters’. A number of states in the USA have already passed laws protecting ‘heritage acts’ saying that at least one original member must be still involved. Recent band name disputes involving original members included fights for the names Spandau Ballet, Dr Hook, Saxon and Boney M. Other bands who have had to fight for the same name include Liberty (and Liberty X), Suede and Suede and the two ‘Blues’.

The Times 23 March 2007 p31

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