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Mon Jul 13, 2020, 07:45 PM

What Is Lady A's Case Against the Other Lady A?

When country trio Lady Antebellum announced a name change in mid-June amid national conversations about racism, it was meant to be a gesture of goodwill. The band had been criticized for romanticizing the pre-war, slavery-ridden American South — so it chopped off the offending word and refashioned itself “Lady A.”

But Lady A was already someone else’s name: A 61-year-old black singer in Seattle, Anita White, had recorded and performed music with it for decades. In the days after White spoke with Rolling Stone about her shock, the band contacted the singer and posted on Instagram that the two parties were working toward an agreement. Last Wednesday, however, the band filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against the singer in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, asking a court to affirm its right to use the name Lady A. The trio — Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood — said in an accompanying statement that White had asked for a $10 million payment, so “we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended.”

White, speaking to Rolling Stone on Friday, says she has been buried in Google searches for “Lady A,” whereas prior to last month, she was the only result for the name. “If you’re going to appropriate my name, I thought it was only fair I could rebrand myself with $5 million,” she says. “I could help my community, I could help my church, I can help other artists. And that other $5 million was supposed to go to Black Lives Matter to help other artists with this very struggle.” Critics of the band’s handling of the situation have also pointed out the irony of the trio changing its name to support racial justice, while subsequently usurping a black woman.

In its complaint, the band says it holds federal trademarks while the singer does not — but White also started using the name in her music career 20 years ago, while the band officially adopted it in 2020.

https://www.rollingstone.com/pro/news/lady-a-lady-antebellum-lawsuit-case-1026653/

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 07:49 PM

1. Poor choice for the band. Going after a black singer who had the name

For 20 years.

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Response to Srkdqltr (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:29 PM

6. The federal trademark may decide the case

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:36 PM

7. Trademark procedure is that a potential Trademark has to be researched to insure

that the intended name that will be trademarked is not in use. If she was using the name professionally before the band trademarked the name, from my understanding of trademark protocol, the name was not original and that should have raised red flags.

She wants $5 million to give up the name. If the band was smart, it would be negotiating with her behind the scenes to get her price down, then pay that price and everyone leaves with a smile.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 07:49 PM

2. Changing their name to be racially sensitive

while screwing an AA female singer. You just can’t make that shit up. I hope she wins.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:38 PM

8. They should sue their Trademark lawyer.

That lawyer made mistake number one in regards to Trademarks.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:44 PM

10. Hadn't thought of that but yeah,

Or they didn’t care and thought they could throw her a couple of bucks and she’d be cool.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 07:50 PM

3. OK, I'll bite: What is Lady's A's case against the other Lady A?

Those snips don't clear anything up.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 07:58 PM

4. They filed a federal trademark for the name Lady A, so legally that gives them the...

right to use the name.

Howsumever, the law may not be absolute. This why you pay lawyers so much.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:52 PM

11. According to what I read, she was using the name professionally for close to two

decades. One of the things that need to be done when researching an intended Trademark, is make sure it is not in use. I don’t know whether the “in use” covers non-trademarked ownership like the African American singer was likely relying on. But, part of their research should have included the field that they are in “Music”. Trademark research needs to be very exhaustive (from my understanding) to avoid exactly what has happened.

I really don’t know whether the Country band has a clear cut win on this, especially if the soul singer can present event bookings from way back showing her use of the name, not to mention checks and other things from event organizers.

Maybe the Country band is suing her just to get her to the negotiating table to talk. At the least, if the lawyer that did the Trademark research and filed the Trademark is the lawyer representing them, maybe they should get someone else.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 06:36 PM

12. They may have done that research; Anita White isn't exactly a household name in Seattle.

Her recording career is in the last 10 years. That's about when Lady Antebellum trademarked the name.

Her Wiki entry on the topic is something: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_White

"The band members contacted White the next week to apologize for inadvertently dominating her name without any research, saying that the Black Lives Matter movement had inspired them to a collaborative attitude. They nonetheless required retaining the same name, though she knew dual-naming was inherently impossible.[8][9] Initially enthusiastic, forgiving, and hopeful,[10] she said "We talked about attempting to co-exist but didn't discuss what that would look like"[9] reportedly because the band members would not directly respond to that explicit question three times during the conversation or in two contract drafts.[8] Shocked upon receipt of the band's contract draft later that day, she said "Their camp is trying to erase me ... and I no longer trust them".[11] She soon submitted a counteroffer that either the band would be renamed, or that her act would be renamed for a $5 million fee plus a $5 million donation to be split between Seattle charities, a nationwide legal defense fund for independent artists, and Black Lives Matter. She confirmed her initial concern that the band's name has now virtually obliterated her own name of "Lady A" from search results on online music services."

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 06:44 PM

13. It doesn't matter how obscure she was. The clue in my post was "exhaustive". nt

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:29 PM

5. long story short, they're basically just asking the court to give them permission

to use the same name without restricting the blues singer from using that name as well.

presumably the argument is basically that the country band using the same name wouldn't cause any real damage to the blues singer.


this sort of thing happens all the time, though usually in different industries. for example, apple the compute/phone company and apple the record company (the beatles' label) don't really interfere with each other even though they use the same name. of course it got complicated when apply the computer company decided to get into the music library business, but that's another story....

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jul 13, 2020, 08:40 PM

9. I might be mistaken but, I read some place that she wanted 10 million......

and the group didn’t think she had used the name for as long as she said she did. Wish they would get a different name. JMHO.

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