1St April- Band swipes
"Chinese Democracy" title for new album
Axl wasn't using it, so the Offspring decided they would. The Southern
California punk group has announced that their upcoming album will
be called Chinese Democracy, a name that Guns n' Roses leader Axl
Rose has been touting for at least three years as the title of the
first new album of Gn'R material in a decade.
"You snooze, you lose," Offspring singer
Dexter Holland said. "Axl ripped-off my braids, so I ripped-off
his album title." The album, produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl
Jam, Bruce Springsteen), is slated for a late spring release.
You'd think that snatching an album title was a no-no,
but the Offspring are on pretty solid legal ground, according to a
copyright expert. "Trademark law does not come into existence
unless the title is used in interstate commerce," according to
copyright lawyer and co-author of Musician's Business & Legal
Guide," Greg Victoroff, who added that copyright law does not
extend to titles.
"[Right now], they're just two ordinary words,"
Victoroff says. "Under that analysis, it would seem that Guns
n' Roses have no right to that title and the Offspring are free to
use it in any purpose they wish." He adds that unless Gn'R's
label has issued press releases touting the album, or the band has
toured extensively under the album's name, then they have no real
claim to the "Chinese Democracy."
The still-gestating Gn'R album has been touted in
several press releases and mentioned in the release announcing the
group's aborted 2002 North American tour, but it has not yet been
scheduled for release.
According to Victoroff, trademark law was enacted
to protect consumers from being confused, and though both Offspring
and Gn'R play hard rock-inspired music, the Offspring should be safe
as long as they are clearly named on the album's cover.
While a source close to Guns says a letter from Rose's
camp warning the Offspring not to use the album title was sent earlier
this year, an Offspring spokesperson denied the existence of such
a letter. Neither band's management could be reached for comment at
The Offspring are notorious for their pranks. In
another tweak at a pop culture icon, the band sold bootleg Napster
t-shirts on their Web site in 2000, drawing a cease-and-desist letter
from the now defunct file-trading site; the order was later rescinded.
Sources - heretodaygonetohell.com