Historic event: 09/23/1996

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weezer sued by pinkerton

on this day, weezer got sued for a whopping 2 million dollars. now, you may ask, "who would sue a rock band that plays songs for the people?" well that answer is the pinkerton detective agency. apparrently the sercurity company felt that the title of pinkerton infringed on their company name. after the tower records parking lot show that day, rivers spent the rest of the day writing up his explanation of why "pinkerton" was the title of the new album (it's rooted from a character in the opera, "madame butterfly"), for court the next day. weezer presented their case, and the judge decided in favor of keeping the album named pinkerton.

as reported by addicted to noise:

"the very modern noisy pop combo weezer were issued a temporary restraining order [tro] monday. like the butthole surfers before them [who were forced to change the name of their most recent cd, electriclarryand from the rogers and hammerstein-provoking oklahoma], the band weezer has run into title trouble.

it seems the band, who named their sophomore effort pinkerton, have been slapped with a tro by the delaware-based pinkerton security and investigation service. the tro, issued by us district court judge john g. davies in los angeles on september 23, a day before the album's release, prevents the band's label, geffen, from advertising or promoting the album with it's current title. the tro is part of a $2 million lawsuit filed by the security company against weezer and geffen for federal trademark infringement and lanham act violations and which seeks to force geffen to account for all profits from the sale of the album pinkerton. according to dereck andrade, public affairs manager for pinkerton, the tro prohibits geffen and weezer from "selling, distributing, or advertising the album named pinkerton."

andrade says the company's concern is that the album title infringes on the well-known name of the more than 100-year old business, which, according to its press materials, count approximately half of the fortune 1000 companies as its clients. although andrade said he couldn't comment on pervious discussions with the label or the band concerning the name, he did confirm that there was contact between the two companies prior to the release and that "discussions occurred and obviously communications were not sufficient enough for a resolution and pinkerton was left with having to request a tro, which was granted."

a hearing is scheduled for october 3 in la in us district court, during which andrade says pinkerton will be asking for a preliminary injunction that would prevent geffen and weezer from using the name. the title of the album actually refers to a character in the opera madam butterfly. late tuesday, a geffen spokesperson issued the following statement: "to weezer, 'pinkerton' is a character in puccini's opera 'madame butterfly,' a favorite of singer rivers cuomo. rivers choosing to use the name 'pinkerton' came strictly within an opera fan's frame of reference. it was not meant to be aimed at any sort of corporate entity, it was merely a musician paying homage to an inspiration and hoping to enlighten a few fans in the process." a geffen spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny that the label had previous contact with the company. undeterred, weezer played an outdoor gig at the tower sunset music store in l.a. yesterday afternoon [sept. 24], and we can only assume they played some songs from that album. you know, the one after their first one.

hoping to scuttle this major mulfunction quickly, a source at geffen said the label's lawyers are trying to arrange a meeting with the judge in the case as early as tomorrow."


See also