Anita White, the artist who goes by “Girl A,” filed a countersuit for trademark infringement on Tuesday in opposition to the Nashville trio previously often known as Girl Antebellum.
Girl Antebellum modified their identify to “Girl A” in June, because the connotations of the band’s unique identify change into untenable amid the George Floyd protests. However that created a difficulty for White, a Black girl who has been performing underneath that stage identify for the reason that early 1990s.
At first, it appeared that White and the trio would come to an settlement to share the usage of the identify. However the talks broke down, because the trio stated that White had demanded a $10 million cost.
The trio filed a federal go well with in Tennessee in early July looking for a declaration that they’re entitled to make use of the identify. The band had filed a trademark for “Girl A” in 2010, and acquired it in 2011, and the nickname had been utilized in merchandise and promotions earlier than then.
White has now filed her personal go well with in Seattle, claiming a standard legislation proper to the “Girl A” trademark primarily based on many years of performing underneath that identify. The go well with contends that the Nashville band’s use of the identify will lead to model confusion, and states claims of trademark infringement and unfair competitors.
“The impact of the identify change on Ms. White’s potential to differentiate her music within the market was overwhelming,” the go well with contends. “Web and social media searches for ‘Girl A,’ which had readily returned outcomes for her music, have been now dominated by references to Girl Antebellum. Ms. White’s Girl A model had been usurped and set on the trail to erasure.”
The go well with provides slightly extra element about how the negotiations collapsed. In line with White, the trio’s administration firm reached out rapidly after the identify change was introduced and arrange a video name. On the decision, the trio mentioned selling White’s work, or collaborating on a track. Although she says they didn’t make a deal, quickly afterward the trio despatched her a draft settlement.
Below the draft settlement, White wouldn’t have acquired any compensation. She would stand up to $10,000 to reimburse her for authorized charges — although she was working with professional bono counsel — and the trio would make “greatest efforts” to advertise her profession.
White got here to really feel that the settlement was not in her pursuits, and retained the agency of Cooley LLP, which was additionally working professional bono. Cooley responded to the trio with a draft settlement on July 6, which is seemingly the place the $10 million demand got here in, although that isn’t specified within the criticism.
Two days later, the trio filed its declaratory reduction motion in Nashville. In an interview with Vulture, White stated that the trio’s conduct exemplified “one other white individual making an attempt to take one thing from a Black individual, though they are saying they’re making an attempt to assist.”
“If you wish to be an advocate or an ally, you assist those that you’re oppressing,” she stated. “And that may require you to surrender one thing as a result of I’m not going to be erased.”