Newsboys Sue Rap Group in Trademark Dispute
The Newsboys, a popular Christian rock band, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a rising rap duo that has what the band's attorney calls a "deceptively similar" name.
According to the suit, which was filed in the District Court of Middle Tennessee in early July, the name of the New Boyz rap group - which is made up of Earl "Ben J" Benjamin and Dominic "Legacy" Thomas - is not only similar to the Christian band's name, but it is also reminiscent of the 1991 Newsboys album, "Boys Will Be Boyz."
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Shawn P. Sirgo, the attorney for the Newsboys, writes in the complaint that the band "has already documented several instances of actual confusion among its customers, prospective customers and other outside observers who mistakenly assume a connection between Plaintiff and Defendant and the respective music they offer."
The Newsboys band was founded in 1985, although it has undergone a number of personnel changes since that time including the addition of lead singer and former dc Talk member Michael Tait, who joined the band in March of 2009. They have produced 28 number one singles, and have put out four albums since 2008. The band's name became trademarked in 1994, long before the New Boyz signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records in 2009.
Songs created by the New Boyz - like "Back Seat" and "Bunz" - are "sexually charged and the lyrics are sexually explicit in content," the suit says. They are a far different from the faith-based lyrics of the Newsboys, who are known for songs like "God's Not Dead" and "He Reigns."
The goal of the Newsboys lawsuit is to prevent the New Boyz from continuing to use their name or "any other confusingly similar variation" of it, and also seeks damages for any losses the Newsboys took as a result of the name confusion. A preliminary court date has been set for Aug. 27 in Nashville.
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