Earth, Wind & Fire pursues another Earth, Wind & Fire

The funk legends’ heirs are launching a lawsuit against the company behind “ Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion “.

The rights holders of funk legends Earth, Wind & Fire have filed a lawsuit against the company behind a competing show, accusing it of copyright infringement and trademark dilution which, according to them, led to general confusion and disappointed fans.

Earth Wind & Fire IP, LLC (the group’s trademark rights holder following the death of founder Maurice White in 2016) filed a lawsuit against Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications on Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami, claiming that the latter falsely marketed their show Earth, Wind & Fire as the real thing and not as a cover band.

As the lawsuit obtained by RollingStonethere are currently two bands Earth, Wind & Fire on the touring circuit: the real version, made up of longtime members Verdine White and Philip Bailey (version which announced a tour with Lionel Richie) and Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion, made up of anonymous “former members” of the funk band.

Lose yourself in the musical whirlwind and relive the glory days of the EWF era led by Maurice White, as Legacy Reunion brings together former members of the EWF family to continue the tradition that now spans five decades. writes Substantial Music Group, which also manages The Legends of 52nd Street, made up of Billy Joel Band alumni, of Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion.

Although cover bands are legal, the document claims that this “ Legacy Reunion illegally used the band’s copyrights, including their well-known “Phoenix” logo, Egyptian iconography, and even photos of “real” EWF members to promote their concerts, tricking fans into believing that the shows were those of the real Earth, Wind & Fire.

Beginning around 2019, the Defendants engaged a few musicians who had previously played with the real Earth, Wind & Fire as supporting musicians for brief periods up to three decades prior, as well as other musicians who did not had ever played with the band, to perform songs that the real Earth, Wind & Fire had made famouscan we read in the document. In order to increase ticket sales for these concerts, the defendants devised a scheme to make people believe, in advertising, that this new group was the real Earth, Wind & Fire. The defendants did so to benefit from the commercial magnetism and overwhelming public sympathy for the plaintiff’s ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’ marks and logos, thereby misleading consumers and selling more tickets at lower prices. higher […] only if the defendants honestly announced who was making these representations. »

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that some ticketing sites failed to distinguish between the two bands Earth, Wind & Fire, combining their respective tour dates. ” Clicking on the links to well-known ticketing companies on the first page of this Google listing reveals a further infringement of the complainant’s trademark rights “, indicates the lawsuit.

A representative for the group led by Philip Bailey declined to comment on the lawsuit. A representative for Stellar Communications did not respond to a request for comment. Richard Smith, the founder of Substantial Music Group, called the lawsuit ” disappointing news for us “. ” We are proud to be alumni of the musical group Earth, Wind & Fire and we will successfully defend ourselves against this greedy attempt to erase us, Richard Smith told RollingStone. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing what we love: making music and entertaining people. »

Daniel Kreps

Translated by the editor

Earth, Wind & Fire pursues another Earth, Wind & Fire