And the pissing contest between the two trivial Black Flag reunions continues.
Black Flag Guitarist and Co-Founder Greg Ginn, vocalist Ron Reyes, drummer Gregory Moore, and touring bassist Dave Klein publicly slammed the Keith Morris led band Flag, by calling them a “‘fake’ Flag band currently covering the songs of BLACK FLAG in an embarrassingly weak ‘mailing it in’ fashion.”
Ginn follows up the comments by writing two debut songs directed at the ex Black Flag band members known as Flag called “Down In The Dirt” and “The Chase.”
Here’s Chase On Video For Your Viewing Pleasure
One of punk’s most iconic band names has provoked a new lawsuit.
Guitarist Greg Ginn claims the touring band Flag, consisting of Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski and Bill Stevenson, infringes on Black Flag rights owned by him and his label, SST Records.
Fans may be confused to see two different groups performing this year under the name of Hermosa Beach punk outfit Black Flag — one fronted by founding guitarist Greg Ginn, and another touring as Flag with Ginn’s former band mates Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski and Bill Stevenson.
Part of the lawsuit focuses on Dukowski, who previously sued Ginn and SST in 2007. At the time, Dukowski was insisting that he was entitled to a portion of Black Flag’s revenue because he was still a member of the band. They eventually settled, with Dukowski reportedly agreeing to never perform under the Black Flag name or use the logo for profit. Ginn claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name (and “Flag” variation) and infamous logo, which Flag use on tour.
Ginn accuses Garfield and Morris of lying to the Trademark Office on registrations; using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979; and in what’s alleged to be an act of “outrageous fraud,” using bootleg SST T-shirts in an attempt to show they’ve been making such products in that time.
Also named as a defendant is Black Flag’s most famous former member Henry Rollins, known for his own music, current radio show on KCRW, a column in LA Weekly and a role on FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
Unfortunately, the competition has culminated in a lawsuit.
Ginn claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name (and “Flag” variation) and logo, which Flag uses on tour.
Greg Ginn accuses Rollins and Morris of lying to the trademark office on registrations. He also accuses the members of FLAG of using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979, and, in what’s alleged to be an act of “outrageous fraud,” using bootleg SST Records t-shirts in an attempt to show they’ve been making such products in that time.
Interestingly, while not actually a part of any reunion, former vocalist (and most famous ex-member) Henry Rollins has also been named as a defendant. However, as divulged in the 55th, 56th, and 57th paragraphs of the suit on September 12, 2012, Rollins (aka “Henry Garfield”) and Keith Morris jointly applied to trademark the term “Black Flag,” as well as the Black Flag logo.
Rollins has noted several times — the following quote is from a 2011 Post article were Rollins states that “Greg Ginn doesn’t pay royalties. No royalties, no statements, nothing. At least not to me and several of my old band mates.”
However, a judge has found that SST has no rights to the Black Flag copyright; Ginn has special rights to any of the trademarks; neither Ginn nor the label cared about copyrghts or trademarks until now; Rollins never quit Black Flag (technically correct, since it was Ginn who “quit” the band in 1985, not Rollins); and fans are smart enough to know which band is which.
Here’s what all of that looks like in legalese, via FLAG:
(1) the court found that SST had no rights in the trademarks;
(2) Ginn seemed to have no individual rights in the Black Flag trademarks;
(3) even if either had had any rights in those marks, they had abandoned those rights through a failure to police the mark for nearly 30 years;
(4) the defendants’ claim that the Black Flag assets were owned by a statutory partnership comprised of various former band members – even if these members only consisted of Henry and Ginn, based on (a) accepting Ginn’s argument that he never quit and given that there is no evidence or allegation that Henry ever quit – has merit;
(5) that even if the plaintiffs had some trademark claim in the marks, there was no likelihood of consumer confusion between Black Flag and Flag given the ample press coverage over the dispute; and
(6) the trademark application and registration that Henry and Keith made was done in good faith (e.g. not fraudulently) – and is thus not necessarily subject to cancellation – given that they understood their actions to have been done on the part of the Black Flag partnership (see No. 4, above).
The Verbicide Magazine Posted an actual copy of the filed Suit Below: