A judge has ordered five-piece LIBERTY, formed by the rejects from television show ‘POPSTARS’, to change their name.
The ‘flopstars’, signed to Richard Branson’s V2 label, have been given six weeks to make the change. At London’s High Court this afternoon (January 22), Mr Justice Laddie ruled that the name Liberty belonged to a little-known funk band and could not be used by the newer group. He said the new act must change to avoid further damage to the funk band’s reputation.
V2 have been given leave to appeal the decision.
The funk outfit Liberty is led by Kevin Floyd Sutherland and David Lyall. It’s made up of musicians who had in the past worked as session players for artists including Eric Clapton, Elton John and Sting. Liberty were named Young Band Of The Year in 1993 by London’s Capital Radio. They released three albums through the 90s and continue to record.
While acknowledging that the band had reached it’s heyday several years ago and that the impact they have made since was “local and limited,” Mr Justice Laddie said: “The impact made by good musicians can last a good while after they have stopped performing. The impact Liberty made on their public is unlikely to have disappeared.” He added that he was “struck by the authentic enthusiasm” shown by friends and music industry figures who appeared as witnesses for the funk band.
The judge will allow the V2 flopstars a slight variation of the spelling or a new name incorporating Liberty.
Funk Liberty are likely now to seek damages from V2. Outside the court today, Lyall would not comment on the level of damages they may now seek, and said simply: “All we wanted was our name.”
Flopstars Liberty, who scored a Top Five hit with their debut single ‘Thinking It Over’, had been planning to release their debut album ‘To Those Who Wait’, under the disputed name on April 1.
There was no comment from V2.