BLACKMAIL 's interview # 2 :
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Tell us about the problem you meet with the other Blackmail & label that has released the album & explain what you want to do, how to help you, etc & so on....
Maths: Maybe I should start with a short background. In 1992, when Robert, Jens and Danne formed Blackmail and left their old band to go back to the trio format they started with in 1988, we made a careful investigation to make sure that the name was free to use. We asked experienced rock journalists, that knew bands that nobody else had heard about, if they knew any band called BLACKMAIL. At that time we had no opportunity to search the Internet for a check up. Since nobody we talked to had heard of another BLACKMAIL they decided to use that name.
Their former band had been quite famous locally, partly because they did well in rock band contests, partly because of their youth - at that time they had an average age of 16. There were several articles about both their old band and BLACKMAIL in the local press
In 1994, before we released BLACKMAIL's debut CD Schizophrenic, we registered our company, Blackmail Music, to the Business Registration, partly to prevent another local band from stealing our name by applying for registration at the Swedish Patent Office. That conflict lasted for two years, before their application finally was dismissed, and we could register our name at the Patent Office too, before we released the "Female Impersonator" mCD in 1996.
BLACKMAIL has now been air played on more than 60 radio stations in more than 30 states in America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Hundreds of reviews, interviews, showcase features and news articles on BLACKMAIL have been published by printed magazines and newspapers, as well as E-zines, practically all over the world. In fact no other band has been featured more on Internet before releasing a full album.
We have encountered some ghosts from history, old bands that actually called themselves BLACKMAIL (one Greek band even released a CD some five years ago, and I have also been told about a Dutch Blackmail that released a record in the early eighties) but we were chocked when we learned that a German band calls itself Blackmail and had their debut CD released in November 1997.
Internet is still quite new to most people, and I can understand the band if they hadn't run a search on the Web to check if some other band already had established that name. But I am amazed that a big German record company like EFA-Medien doesn't run a simple Web check as a routine, before they release a debut CD, to see if the name is free.
We have repeatedly e-mailed both the band and EFA, telling them that we have established the name internationally for years, and that we regard their CD release as a serious infringement on our established trade mark. We have also informed them that, since we have the name registered by the Swedish Patent Office, they can not sell the CD in Sweden, or tour here, as long as they use our name. The company has also been contacted by Web site editors in Germany, Italy, England and USA, but they have refused to reply to all attempts to call attention to their violation of our established rights.
To officially register our name in every country of importance would cost a fortune. We'd need a couple of gold records to be able to afford that! It would also be too costly to sue EFA to a German court for their infringement.
The only thing we can hope for is that the public opinion will condemn the violation that this big company is doing to a young, talented and hard working band that has created a world wide reputation that is exceptional for an independent unsigned band with only two self made EPs released. If the reaction gets strong enough, both from media people and from potential customers, they will hopefully realise that the bad publicity will cost them more than the costs to withdraw the CD and rename the band.
The help we need from you, who read this, is that you e-mail EFA-Medien at email@example.com and tell them what you think of their infringement. We would also appreciate if you send a copy to Oliver Schoenknecht at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the editor of the new German webzine "NIGHTSHADE", and has offered to collect all letters to EFA, until they have grown to a big heap, and dump it over them. We also appreciate if you send us a copy that we can include on our "Name Conflict" page. We also hope that you will talk to your friends about this violation. Maybe someone can share your indignation, and write a letter too.
If you are a zine editor, or an established rock journalist, we are very grateful if you write an article (or at least a note) about this David vs. Goliath battle. If you are a radio DJ we'd appreciate if you told your audience about it, plus that they soon can expect the first full album from the REAL BLACKMAIL, and played something from our latest mCD. We are happy to mail it to you if you only give us your address. If you have a record shop, or a distribution company, you could tell EFA that you consider it a criminal act to sell a CD that is an obvious infringement of an established trade mark, and refuse to order it. If you're in show biz we are also very grateful if you told your colleagues about this, so that they don't accidentally promote the violation.
If you want to read more about our defence for our name, you can go to the Name Conflict pages in BLACKMAIL HOME CAVE at http://home2.swipnet.se/~w-20275/blackmail.html
Contact BLACKMAIL email@example.com
Surface address: c/o Lundsbye, Ekehojdsg 8 SE-426 68 V. FROLUNDA, SWEDEN
Visit their multi awarded page at BLACKMAIL Home Cave http://home2.swipnet.se/~w-20275/blackmail.html