© Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. While this may look like a case of David vs. Goliath, here both David and Goliath have entirely valid legal interests to protect. Ultimately, moving toward racial healing ought to be sincere, and not in the back seat to one's self-interest. Anita White is continuing to speak out about Lady Antebellum’s lawsuit to change their name to Lady A, the moniker she has been using throughout her career. White filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against the band on Tuesday (September 15). A few short weeks later, the group filed a federal lawsuit against Black blues singer Anita White – who had already been going by the name “Lady A” for many years—two decades, even.The would-be ex-Antebellum (Postbellum?) Last week's lawsuit makes clear that for Lady Antebellum, taking a step on race was, to borrow one of their song titles, little more than something that "Sounded Good at the Time. But beyond the legal framework are symbolic questions that make the band look terrible. Less than a month after changing its name to Lady A, the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum has filed a lawsuit against blues singer Anita … Lady A, the Blues Singer, Responds to Lawsuit by Lady Antebellum: ‘I Will Not Be Erased’ ... That's what this lawsuit is about. Lady A, the band, might as well return to calling themselves Lady Antebellum. Country, Lady Antebellum. They have not been alone among many individuals and organizations that issued statements working through their own evolution on race. However, while the former Dixie Chicks have not had any legal issues with the name change, the former Lady Antebellumhas sued Lady A, a 61-year-old blues singer from Seattle, over use of a … “I didn’t need their money before. It should not have taken. In a two-week span last month, the Chicks and Lady A each dropped a term referring to the antebellum South from their popular country music band names amid worldwide protests over racial injustice. The lawsuit exposes the emptiness of their gesture. The Chicks Get Candid on Lady A’s Lawsuit and Fans Who Disapprove of Their Name Change By Liz Calvario‍ 9:19 PM PDT, July 21, 2020 Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images 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. Lady A’s racial sensitivity, though, appears to have had the shelf life of a buttered biscuit. However, while the former Dixie Chicks have not had any legal issues with the name change, the former Lady Antebellum has sued Lady A, a 61-year-old blues singer from Seattle, over use of a name … The band Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, has filed a lawsuit against blues singer Anita White, who also goes by the name Lady A. Most Popular Want more Rolling Stone? Second, in a music marketplace in which outlets such as Spotify and Pandora facilitate instant global distribution of artists' work, it can be challenging to put a dollar amount on the market value of even a solo former karaoke artist in the Pacific Northwest. I do community work. Lady A and her legal team are looking to have their lawsuit heard before a court in Seattle, whereas the former Lady Antebellum members wish to see their own suit proceed in Tennessee. Veteran blues singer Anita White, who has gone by the stage name Lady A for decades, has responded to the trademark lawsuit … In July, Lady A filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against White in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee which was obtained by SPIN. “White’s $10 million demand is shocking and unconscionable and left the band with little choice but to commence the lawsuit — a lawsuit the band should easily win.”, White maintains that the financial sum isn’t her focus. Country group Lady A, who changed their name from Lady Antebellum because of its connection to slavery, is suing blues singer Anita White, who says she has been known as Lady … That they never even had to stop and think of what the term meant is itself a sign of their privilege. by Jacklyn Krol July 9, 2020. written by Jacklyn Krol July 9, 2020. ", Singer calls out country group after lawsuit: Not what an ally does, 'That's some White privilege': Blues singer Anita White on Lady A lawsuit. Comments. Written by BET Staff Blues singer Anita White, also known as Lady A for 20 years, is speaking out after country music trio Lady Antebellum’s decision to file a … Country group Lady A, who changed their name from Lady Antebellum because of its connection to slavery, is suing blues singer Anita White, who says she has been known as Lady … The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum filed a lawsuit against singer Anita 'Lady A' White after deciding to use the same name — all the details Lady A’s racial sensitivity, though, appears to have had the shelf life of a buttered biscuit. According to the lawsuit, the band applied for trademarks for the name "Lady A" for entertainment services and for use on clothing back in 2010 and no oppositions were filed by any person or entity. Country band Lady A chided for suing blues singer Lady A in name dispute July 9, 2020 The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Tennessee after the country trio said negotiations with White broke down. As so often happens in life and the law, the parties attempted to negotiate an outcome, and eventually things fell apart. The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum filed a lawsuit against singer Anita 'Lady A' White after deciding to use the same name — all the details They have won seven Grammys and countless other honors. Put another way, plenty of public figures and companies presented themselves as racial progressives in the days during and following the protests. For instance, Monday's announcement from the Washington Redskins that they are dropping their racist team name was only possible because of sponsors' explicit threat to dissociate with the brand. While told Rolling Stone last month that she had a trademark for Lady A but did not specify what type of mark it was. The band Lady A — formerly Lady Antebellum — has filed a lawsuit against a Black blues singer who has performed with the name Lady A for the … Watch — Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, files lawsuit against blues singer with same name: Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: Johnny Depp … A court is being asked to determine the band's right to the name. Anita ‘Lady A’ White on the Lady Antebellum name lawsuit, how talks with the band broke down, why she asked for $10 million to give up her name and won’t go quietly. “There’s a real dispute here on whether the band was premature in suing.” The case might also be thrown out if the court disagrees that Tennessee is the proper place to litigate this dispute, she says. These are questions for the parties, a court or the marketplace to sort out. the band dropped the "Antebellum" and shortened its name to Lady A, "interchangeably with 'Lady Antebellum' since the 2006-2007 timeframe. The Seattle singer filed a trademark infringement lawsuit … Band Formerly Known as Lady Antebellum Files Lawsuit Against Lady A After Singer Asks for $10 Million this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. If the court agrees with the band and grants it a right to the name, the two groups “will have to agree to a way to ensure consumers — music fans — know who’s who.” If the court rejects the band’s claim, further legal action will be needed to sort out exactly who can use the name and where. Given that sometimes a lawsuit isn't just a lawsuit, the solution here was to keep at the negotiating table and come to consensus, saying, as the band does in ". The declaratory judgment suit essentially asks a court to affirm that both parties can use the name. Fans have shared their reactions to Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum) suing R&B artist Anita White who used the stage name “Lady A” for the last two decades. If two people file and use the same local trademark in two separate states, that’s not a conflict, but if one of them is granted a federal trademark, it essentially overrules the locally-filed person and “cuts off anyone else being able to use the same trademark,” Rosenblum says. After talks quickly soured on a potential resolution to the Lady A name, Anita White spoke with Rolling Stone about the band's lawsuit. The lawsuit hinges rather strongly on the key detail that the band has interchangeably called itself Lady A as early as 2006. While Lady Antebellum filed for the “Lady A” trademark in 2010 and there were no objections at the time, I’m not sure the smart move here is to file a lawsuit against a black woman singer who has been using “Lady A” as her stage name for over two decades. Elliot Williams (@elliotcwilliams) is a CNN legal analyst. Moreover, one can argue that the very point of our moment today is to fix, or at least address, racial inequality. Under the law, that may entitle her to rights to the name. To be clear, this isn't just about TBFKALA. In July, the country band initiated a lawsuit asking the courts to affirm its right to the name “Lady A,” a trademark the band first registered for in 2010, according to the complaint. 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. Conversely, the effect of costly litigation on White -- the kind of Black performer the country ought to be trying to elevate now -- could be profound. For many, that progressiveness seems to stop as soon as dollars are involved. Attorneys for Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, have filed a suit against blues singer Anita White who goes by the name Lady A.. At the time they applied for protection, any member of the public -- including White -- could have contested their application. This June, following national protests about race and policing. Lady Antebellum is suing singer Anita White over the use of the "Lady A" name. “Here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a black person,” Anita White, the Seattle blues singer who has performed as Lady A for 20 years, told Vulture. Anita “Lady A” White has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Lady A, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum.. (CNN)As a country act sang in the 2008 hit "Lookin' For a Good Time," "complicated situations/only get worse in the morning light.". “I could help my community, I could help my church, I can help other artists. The band Lady A — formerly Lady Antebellum — has filed a lawsuit against a Black blues singer who has performed with the name Lady A for the past two decades. The Lawsuits Are Raging On. That band was, at the time, named Lady Antebellum. This is a mechanism for parties to request that the court establish they have a legal entitlement to use this particular mark.”, While it’s technically correct that the band is “suing” Lady A, Lewis notes, that word alone “doesn’t provide the full picture of what’s going on here.”, Lewis and other attorneys say that time and scope will both be crucial points for the court to examine. “When a party sues for declaratory judgment, as the band did in this case, it’s often in response to an explicit threat of suit. Lady A and her legal team are looking to have their lawsuit heard before a court in Seattle, whereas the former Lady Antebellum members wish to see their own suit proceed in Tennessee. The band has not sued for money, and merely seeks a ruling that affirms the validity of the trademark. Can the Recording Academy Make the Grammys Shine Again? The battle between Lady A the band and Lady A the singer rages on. The parties will first need to show how long they have been using the trademarks in commerce; the second factor in the court’s decision will be how broadly they have used the mark in commerce. In the end, money talks, and progressiveness on race is often tied to a brand's ability to stay profitable. Sign up for our newsletter. “They do this to make me look bad, like I’m just out for the money,” she says. In the suit, White contends that she has common law rights to the moniker Lady A … But Ms. White never threatened to sue,” she says. The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum, which recently changed its name over its ties to slavery, has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has performed as Lady A for years. The views expressed here are the author's. We want to hear from you! Most importantly, the decision to drop the "Antebellum" stemmed from what they claimed was a desire to be more sensitive on issues of race. I have a job that I’m retiring from, and I have music that I do. She has a day job working for Seattle Public Utilities. View more opinion on CNN. A few short weeks later, the group filed a federal lawsuit against Black blues singer Anita White – who had already been going by the name “Lady A” for many years—two decades, even.The would-be ex-Antebellum (Postbellum?) The band has filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against blues singer Anita White over the name. Original Lady A Responds To New Lady A Lawsuit, Explains Whirlwind Timeline by Jacob Uitti July 10, 2020, 7:35 am 1 Comment The word Antebellum refers to … The band has filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against blues singer Anita White over the name. ), “These cases are very fact-based,” says Jason Rosenblum, a patent attorney who focuses on trademark protection. The band also obtained federal registration for a trademark of Lady A in 2011. My life was happy before I met them. In a similar way, no matter how much legal merit there is behind their lawsuit, TBFKALA seems to be only as "woke" as their litigation and financial interests allowed them to be. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. “If you’re going to appropriate my name, I thought it was only fair I could rebrand myself with $5 million,” she says. “This is a proactive way to clear up a dispute,” intellectual-property attorney Wesley Lewis tells Rolling Stone. ", chorus of public figures and brands signaling their virtue on issues of race. In contrast, Ms. White started going by "Lady A" at karaoke nights in the 1980s. Their lawsuit against Lady A, though, is exactly what it looks like: the exertion of white privilege and entitlement. The band claims that after White's team demanded $10 million ($5 million for her, and $5 million for charity), they. The band now finds itself in a complicated situation of its own making. Trademark lawyer Alexandra Roberts agrees: “The band’s registrations create a strong presumption that the band got there first and its trademark rights trump Ms. White’s, but that’s the beginning of a priority analysis, not the end,” she says. You need to understand if you’re going to be an ally, you need to speak up bravely about what is going on.”, In This Article: (Trademarks deal with logos, merchandise, novelty items, and other items that can be sold or marketed; copyrights, which rear their head in infringement suits over songs and albums, are a different matter. So what’s the most likely outcome of this case? Put another way, while the name change might have helped the band or its listeners manage their guilt, we can safely say that Lady Antebellum changing its name affected the life of not a single Black American in a meaningful way. America has a long history of enabling White artists', Along these lines, it is incredibly hard to feel compassion for a group of White Southerners who voluntarily chose to profit off of (then claim ignorance about) a term that an 11th-grade history student would know is tied to slavery in the United States. Roberts points out that the case could also be thrown out on a technicality without ever being heard — because the band must first establish that it has subject-matter jurisdiction to bring this matter before a court, and it’s not clear what exactly White’s legal team said in their original letter to the band. And it's their own tone deafness, not morning light, that is making things worse. Rolling Stone Send a Tip And she’s not mincing any words. Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, has filed a lawsuit against blues singer Anita 'Lady A' White over naming rights ⁠— details 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. Geography also matters. While one of White's demands was that she not have to share the name with the band, the law allows there to be two Lady A's (. Attorneys say the case rests on two tricky things: prior usage and scope. According to their court filing, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum (I'll just call them "TBFKALA" for short) has sold 18 million album units and 34 million tracks and been streamed some 5 billion times. They … But we would not be wrong to view many of these with skepticism. The lawsuit is just the icing on the cake. The band has been using the name Lady A, along with their original band name Lady Antebellum, since 2006-2007, according to the lawsuit. “I think the band was cognizant of the optics, because they said they are not seeking damages from Anita White. The artists formerly known as Lady Antebellum tested the court of public opinion this week when, after changing their name to Lady A in a gesture of … [White] will have to prove that she didn’t just call herself Lady A 20 years ago, but used it in billboards, ticket sales, other things connected with advertising.”. Anita White is continuing to speak out about Lady Antebellum’s lawsuit to change their name to Lady A, the moniker she has been using throughout her career. The Chicks Get Candid on Lady A’s Lawsuit and Fans Who Disapprove of Their Name Change By Liz Calvario‍ 9:19 PM PDT, July 21, 2020 Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images 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.”. Since the complaint is being brought in Tennessee and White resides in Washington, geography also appears to be a strategic point in the band’s suit. While such a sum may seem outrageous, it may not be, for two big reasons. They’re not requesting that the court prevent her from using the name Lady A. Sign up for CNN Opinion's new newsletter. “It will be about what they can prove — especially in terms of use. Country group Lady A, which dropped the word "Antebellum" from its name because of the word's ties to slavery, has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has performed as Lady A for years. The lawsuit does note that White has identified as Lady A since 2010 and that she also features her music on a Spotify artist page. “The band sought a co-existence agreement with Ms. White, which is the appropriate, traditional and efficient way to handle disputes such as this,” Iser says. Entertainment law attorney Lawrence Iser, who’s represented artists like Jackson Browne, says he believes the band Lady A’s claim is “incredibly strong” because it has been using the mark continuously — thereby owning common-law trademark rights — since 2006, even though it used Lady Antebellum in all fan-facing materials. First, even though White never sought trademark protection for the name "Lady A," she was there first, and used the name for years before TBFKALA came along. The band expressed in their announcement of the name change that in naming the band, they "did not take into account" the associations with the term and slavery. The band isn't suing for money, or to stop the singer from being able to use the name. First, the simple one: Trademarks are very valuable. They got to have it both ways; they were able to join the, The mere fact that you can sue to vindicate a legal right doesn't necessarily mean that you ought to. However, the suit says the band got trademark protection for the name in 2011 after using it. SEATTLE—The legal fight between Seattle blues singer Lady A and the country stars using the same name has taken a new twist. had recorded and performed music with it for decades. Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, is clashing over the name with Seattle-based blues singer Lady A. In other words, business as usual. A dispute between the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum and the Seattle blues singer currently known as Lady A has taken an unexpected and unfriendly turn. The singer Lady A is pushing back against a suit from the band Lady A. If so, hauling a 61-year-old Black public servant into federal court is a rather curious way to go about that. Weeks after country group Lady Antebellum announced they would change their name to "Lady A" to rid it of its connotations with slavery, the band filed a trademark lawsuit against a Black blues singer who has performed under the same name for 20 years.. The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum, which recently changed its name over its ties to slavery, has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has performed as Lady A for years. Were it not for those threats, the team would likely have continued digging in about the name, as it had for decades. Country band Lady A has filed a lawsuit over trademark rights against a blues singer who uses the same name. Grammy-winning country group Lady A has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has been performing as Lady A as well. 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. A principal at The Raben Group, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm, he was formerly a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department and an assistant director at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Obama administration. Lady A Band Files Lawsuit Against ‘Lady A’ Anita White and Fans Have Words: See the Reactions. “Ideally, the parties could resolve this in a way that allows both to use the mark without creating confusion,” Lewis says. Country group Lady A, which dropped the word "Antebellum" from its name because of the word's ties to slavery, has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has performed as Lady A for years. Salute to Service: Panel Discussion on U.S. Military Veterans Advocacy and Support, John Mulaney Says Secret Service Investigated Him After ‘SNL’ Joke, Metallica Celebrate Alice in Chains With Tender Cover of ‘Would?’, Eddie Van Halen Guitars Sell for $422,000 at Auction, Bob Dylan Just Released the Ultra-Rare 1970 ‘George Harrison Sessions’ Without Warning, Taylor Swift Drops Her First Re-Recorded Song — in an Ad for Match, Lil Peep Died Three Years Ago. “If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you're oppressing. Lady A (left) and Lady A (right). 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. Though the group is not asking White to change her stage name, or even for monetary compensation in their newly-filed lawsuit, they are seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady … 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. Koury Angelo/Getty Images, Courtesy of 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. She did not (though her failure to do so is not dispositive or settles the issue in favor of the group). Lady A has spoken. They are only suing to be allowed to use the name themselves, without having to pay the demanded $10 million. Photos by Ethan Miller/Getty Images and Lady A. Photo illustration by Slate. 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