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Bell v. Streetwise Records, Ltd.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
640 F. Supp. 575 (1986)
Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant (the band) (plaintiffs) were members of a teenage boy band called New Edition. The band formed in 1981 and enjoyed a level of local success before being discovered by Maurice Starr. Starr wrote, recorded, and produced the band’s first single “Candy Girl.” Starr connected the band with the record label Streetwise Records (defendant), which bought the copyrights to and released “Candy Girl.” Simultaneously, Streetwise entered into individual recording contracts with each of the then-14-year-old band members. The contracts granted Streetwise the exclusive rights to the name New Edition. After gaining international success, the band obtained new management and disaffirmed their contracts with Streetwise. Streetwise revealed its intentions to release music under the name New Edition with five new performers and sought to obtain federal registration of the trademark for the name. The band filed suit, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Streetwise from going forward with releasing music under the name New Edition. Streetwise responded and likewise sought to enjoin the band from releasing new music as well.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Zobel, J.)
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