#1
If you wanted to call your band, for example, "Dogwalkers", but a band already existed called "The Dogwalkers", could you be sued or whatever by the band even though it isn't exactly the same (you have subtracted the "the")...

Just wondering, I mean obviously you couldn't do it calling a band "Beatles", but providing the band isn't THAT succesful or whatever.

I heard that the Verve did it (in reverse) because another band was called Verve, or something like that..

Is there any other examples of bands changing names slightly to avoid copyright issues that you know of?

cheers in advance
#2
Blink 182 were originally just called Blink, but that was already the name of some irish band, so they stuck a random number on the end.

The Academy Is... were originally just called The Academy, and they printed a bunch of shirts, but only then found out that the name is taken. So they just put "is..." on the end.
#3
Actually, Verve records, a jazz label, sued them. So they became the Verve.

Dropping or adding a "the" does make a difference, yes. Legally, you could probably call yourself "Beatles" don't know how well that would go over, but whatever. I know blink-182 was originally called "Blink" and some Irish band with the same name threatened to sue them, so they added the 182. It's also possible for two bands to have the same exact name; Nirvana, for example. There was a band called Nirvana who predated Kurt Cobain's music by about twenty five years. It was brought to court, and I THINK the new Nirvana was able to pay off the old one, since they weren't that famous, or the case was decided in their favor, someone who knows more about this, elaborate.
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#4
It may also depend on the popularity of the band.

For example, if some unheard of garage band of teenagers, who don't have any records out, accuse, say, Fall Out Boy of stealing their name, it won't get them anything.

Also, considering the fact that so many names are just "The" and a plural noun (the trend is coming back now, with all these indie bands) I think an awful lot of names are already taken, so you gotta do more unusual stuff.
#5
Just look at the band "Bled" If you put a "The" In front of it, you get instant ear dissection.
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#6
That happened to Dinosaur Jr. They were called Dinosaur then some legal things happened and they added jr.
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#7
I figured that I'd chime in on this one since I'm in law school and plan to practice intellectual property law (which includes copyrights and trademarks). The laws vary depending on the country, to some extent, but in the US a band's name is covered under service mark protection. You don't need to register with the trademark office to have your name be protected, but if you want certain remedies in a legal action, you need to be registered. A lot of it has to do with how commercial your name has been made. If two small bands, one in California and the other in New York, have the same name, but don't produce records or merchandise, then it's ok if they're the same. Before you're going to register a band name, you're required to do a pretty extensive search to make sure that you won't infringe. Adding "the" or some other word would help, but there is potential, if the other band desired, for it to become a problem. There's a lot of intricate things about it but it's not always as simple as simply adding a few letters to change the name. What's important is if a consumer can identify the product, in this case music, cds, merch, etc., as coming from a specific source. Sorry for being so long-winded, it's a crazy area of law.