In a crippling blow that should be cause for concern among independent musicians everywhere, Greensboro, NC buzz band Future Ghosts have been hit with a cease and desist letter from an obscure band of the same name out of Chicago, IL, resulting in the removal of the band’s social media sites (Facebook, Reverbnation, Bandcamp, etc.).
The Chicago band trademarked the name "Future Ghosts" back in April 2012, despite not having been active since 2006 and despite the fact that Greensboro’s Future Ghosts had already released an EP ('Oh, Great City') back in 2011. Only recently did the Chicago band decide to reform and release a new record this year.
The timing couldn't be worse as Greensboro’s Future Ghosts are preparing to release their debut LP 'Colorado' on February 12, 2013 via the indie labels Autumn + Colour Records (Sick/Sea, Sleepy Turtles) and Round Kid Records (Terra Terra Terra, Averman). 'Colorado' was recorded at Cannon Found Soundation Recording Studios (Man Overboard, Basement, Transit) with producer Jesse Cannon (The Cure, Saves The Day, The Menzingers).
In a jointly-released statement Greensboro’s Future Ghosts says: "We are, and have been aware that we shared a name with other bands. Most bands do, at one point or another, and usually everyone is pretty relaxed about it. We were just glad that when we got started we only shared it with two or three others. We always knew the possibility was there that one of them would take off and we'd be the ones who had to change our name, but for it to happen like this feels like betrayal. Not only did the other band make no attempt to work it out with us before asking us to cease and desist, they aggressively pursued the purging of our web presence at the same time. It's one thing to make a formal request and give someone a chance to either comply or respond, but we were just left scrambling in the few hours we had to make sure people knew what was going on before all the sites went down."
Autumn + Colour Records, one of the two labels that are jointly releasing the new Colorado LP says in a statement: "It's a travesty when a band acts like little children, instead of working out an issue like adults. In this particular situation there should have been more dialog and notice before filing suit. This band from Chicago should be ashamed of their actions. Please take this as an example of what not to do when faced with a trademark infringement."
Dan Sassone, founder of Round Kid Records says: "What is most shocking to me is that the Chicago Future Ghosts did not even seek advice from their attorney before taking action. They had their "agent" write and send the cease and desist letter and the band themselves, along with their "agent," have been maliciously having the social media sites remove Greensboro’s Future Ghosts pages. The fact that this is not even coming from an attorney is extremely unprofessional and juvenile.”
As the band ponders its next step and pursues legal consulting (which will likely result in thousands of dollars in legal fees that could be devastating to any indie artist) Future Ghosts ask their fans to bear with them and they ask those fans, as well as other bands, to let their voices and opinions on the matter be heard in hopes that they can help prevent something similar from happening to other acts.
Recently we released the new Future Ghosts song "Hands" as a free download. Check out the download at this location.