US judge orders made-for-TV band to change name
LOS ANGELES, Sep 14 (Reuters) A federal judge has barred a new made-for-TV rock band that includes Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee from calling itself Supernova because that name already has been claimed by a lesser-known band.
But US District Judge John Houston ruled yesterday that his court order does not apply to the CBS network's reality show ''Rock Star: Supernova,'' which concludes on Wednesday night with a winning contestant chosen as the new band's lead singer.
Epic Records, which plans to release the new band's first two singles over the Internet today and their debut album in November, declined to comment on the case.
The CBS-spawned group is slated to launch a North American tour on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas.
In addition to Lee, who was once married to ''Baywatch'' star Pamela Anderson, the band assembled for the CBS series consists of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke.
The three musicians, along with CBS and producers of the show, were sued in August for trademark infringement by members of the original Supernova, a California-based band formed in 1989 and best known for contributing the song ''Chewbacca'' to the cult film ''Clerks.'' The injunction bars anyone but that group's three members -- Jodey Lawrence, Art Mitchell and David Collins -- from performing, recording or selling rock music under the Supernova moniker pending the outcome of the suit.
''This is sweet justice,'' lawyer Anthony Fletcher, said in a statement released on behalf of the original group, which has released four albums. ''The band members have worked hard for the past 17 years to establish the name Supernova and are entitled to continue to perform without any other parties -- large or small -- infringing on their rights.'' Left unanswered on Wednesday night was how the new band would be referred to on the Internet the day after the final broadcast of ''Rock Star,'' or how Epic would promote the group leading up to its planned Nov. 21 album release.
Each of the show's four finalists already has gone into the studio with Lee, Newsted and Clarke to record the band's first two singles, and Epic plans to put out those containing the winner's vocals on Thursday through Yahoo Inc., label spokesman Michael Moses said.
Neither Yahoo nor Epic, owned by Sony BMG Entertainment, a joint venture between Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, is named as a defendant in the Supernova suit.
''Rock Star: Supernova'' has averaged roughly 7 million viewers per episode during its summer run on CBS.
REUTERS VJ PM0800