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Beatles Tribute Show Mutiny Quelled
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Ohio
Year Ended 1987
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants Back-Up Musician(s)
Other Beatles
Cover Band(s)
Short Description Before "tribute" bands were the industry staple they are today, Robert Cesare formed Revolver, a stage show that re-created the mid-1960s Beatles experience. Revolver did not just re-enact Beatles concerts, which were traditionally only 30 minutes long and included minimal dialogue, but instead performed for up to an hour, featured scripted dialog among the various Beatles, and included audience participation during the set. Several members left Revolver and started their own identical stage show, called 1964, which copied Revolver's style, performance, and dialogue, and advertised themselves being "formerly Revolver" (this was untrue, because Revolver was owned by Plaintiff). Plaintiff sued his former employees, and the trial court found that Defendants had engaged in deceptive trade practices, having pilfered Plaintiff's production and advertising materials entirely. Further, the court held that the record was "replete with evidence of the uniqueness of Revolver, the band started and guided by Cesare." Revolver's performance, said the court, was protectable trade dress, and the Defendants' impersonation created a likelihood of confusion. The court granted an injunction of unlimited geographic scope, because, though based in Ohio, Revolver had performed on national television. Last, even if the band's dialogue was partially developed by Defendants while in Revolver, it was nonetheless owned by Revolver, which was owned by Plaintiff. Since Plaintiff had not abandoned the mark, Defendants needed to back off. This case set a lasting precedent for unfair competition laws in the music industry. - LSW

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure Evidence Hearsay
Trademarks & Unfair Competition Affirmative Defenses Abandonment
  State Statute/Common Law Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices

Opinions Cesare v. Work
520 N.E.2d 586
Court of Appeals of Ohio , February 25, 1987 ( No. 12718 )

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Related Searches Parties
Back-Up Musician(s) ( Defendant )
Band Member(s) ( Plaintiff )
Beatles ( Other )
Cover Band(s) ( Other )

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure / Evidence / Hearsay
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / Affirmative Defenses / Abandonment
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices

Court of Appeals of Ohio (highest court)

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