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Topic: Whats in a name...legally?
Message: Posted by: Habu (Jan 26, 2007 11:08PM)
Hey, I was wondering about stage name or business name registration. Do you register or trade mark your performing names or the name of your business... "Magic by Habu", "The Great Habu", "Habu & Family Children's Entertainment" etc.

I used to just go by Rick Jackson(real name)-Illusionist. I have used Habu as a screen name for a long time (something from when I was in the US Air Force). I am now considering a new name for a children's magic show business with my daughter.

Do I need to worry about accidentally coming up with the same name as someone else performing in Nova Scotia or Pittsburg???--Then realizing down the road I have to change the name of my business?

Same question pertaining to originating a routine with self made props (original design I hope...)is there a process by which magicians patent or copywrite thier ideas for new magic?

Thought I'd ask now before we get the business off the ground.
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jan 27, 2007 12:53AM)
Ideas cannot be trademarked or protected with a patent. The actual execution of your version of that idea can be protected. For example, the words (script) and specific moves (choreography) can be protected under copyright in your country.

As a magic specifc, the idea of flying cannot be protected by copyright, tradmark or patent. But the method can be protected (and WAS) by a patent. The routine can be copyrighted to protect the specific moves in the same way that a Broadway muscical is protected.

This is why you might see two movies very similar. One might be about a bunch of animated bugs, called Antz. Another might be about a bunch of animated bugs, called A Bugs Life. Both are similar ideas, but different creative executions of the idea.

Regarding your name, you can always start by opening a bank account under your name, but adding a "DBA" (Doing Business As) after your name. For awhile, my video production company was technically Scott Sullivan, DBA Reels in Motion. This way when clients wrote out payments to Reels in Motion, it went right into the business account.

As you grow, you'll have the option of creating a Limited Liability Corp (LLC) to protect your assets. There are many benefits and at a very low cost. But you'll want to talk to your CPA about that.

There are many others on the forum who are much more knowledgeable in this area than I, and I'm sure they will chime in soon!

But most of all, congrats on your new business and wish you the best!

Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Jan 27, 2007 09:33AM)
Regarding the "DBA" - some states are different or less business-friendly, but it was easy in my county and not necessary to get checks written to "Wayne Keyser DBA Ross MacRae".

All I had to do was visit the courthouse, fill out a form, pay $10 to notarize it right there plus a few $ recording fee, and I have the exclusive right IN MY COUNTY to do business as "Ross MacRae." Another paper and fee and I can also do business as "Blue Ridge Entertainment".

Somebody in the next county could legally do the same, but it's the chance you take. As for adopting the same name as a magician in another state, unless you're planning to move there they can complain all they want but chances are you're not hurting them and they're not hurting you, and they can't do a thing to stop you (I wouldn't try DBA-ing "David Copperfield", though).
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Jan 27, 2007 09:38AM)
I think I would want to research my name to be sure it was unique and different from my fellow magical performers. Internet makes this easy, then ask around.

Another item to consider is how much time and money you are willing to spend to protect that name. Just because you have paid the $$$$$ to "protect" your creation does not mean that you will not be called upon to protect it in a court of law. Legal fees, travel etc. Big bucks. Someone that wants to rip off your name will do so, and may have many more $$$$ to fight you over it. Get the name out there, use it on your web site, post on sites like this. Let other folks know who you are and the name you have created for your performances. At least in some way you will have the satisfaction of letting others know it is your creation and belongs to you.

Blair Marshall
Message: Posted by: Habu (Jan 28, 2007 09:39PM)
Thanks for your comments,

I will look into the dba checking and contact the courthouse to see what the local regulations are.
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 28, 2007 10:00PM)
Here in California the laws are also different (no surprise there!). You can open a business using your real name, but if you are using anything else, you have to file a Fictitious Business Name, publish it in a newspaper several times as a public notice over a period of time, and then offering the state proof that you've jumped through those hoops, you then must file all the paperwork with the County Recorder. If you want to be protected by the State, you then must file everything with the Secretary of State. It's only good for a few years (I don't remember how many) and then you have to do it all over again to retain the name. And you will need all of that paperwork to open a bank account here. And that's why I just use my name...Steven Steele. Lucky for me, it's a good name.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Jan 28, 2007 10:26PM)
California - JEESH! That's what you get when you have Conan the Barbarian for a governor. I dunno, but I'll bet anything New York is worse.

Guess I'm lucky to have had to jump through so few hoops.
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 28, 2007 10:51PM)
Sorry Ross, these laws have been in place for 30+ years. My dad had to jump through these hoops years ago when he started his own business. I don't know when they originated, but I do know Arnold had nothing to do with them. I just take a simplistic approach and figure it's just the way government works (or doesn't).
Message: Posted by: Habu (Jan 29, 2007 07:48AM)
It sounds like probably some prospecting law still hanging around since the gold rush or something like that (the fictitious name game in California). That is good to know though, I had better check out Alabama and see if there are any archaic laws here,

Anyone in Alabama know the answer to this?

Thanks again for the replies.