Queens, NY asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports and Trademark for New York

Q: An established comedian made a web series with a name I've been using to DJ for years. Do I need to change it?

I've been operating as a DJ under a certain name since 2016. I'm small-time, but have been paid to perform and have social media profiles registered under my performance name that have been in use since 2016, although I have never registered a trademark or anything.

Today, I found out an established comedian created a web series under the same name in 2019. The series was published online by Comedy Central.

I have no desire to sue anybody, but I'm curious as to whether this means I need to change my performance name, legally-speaking. I was using it first, and can prove it...but I am also a broke artist, not Viacom, so I wouldn't have the resources to put up much of a legal fight if they were to pursue one.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

1 Lawyer Answer
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta

A: Depends on how long you have been using it and if they started using it before you or after.

You may have common law rights.

You should contact an attorney to understand your rights better.

At best you could continue using the name unless they contact you in which case you need to make a decision.

This should not be construed as legal advise.

Best luck

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.