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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 14:53 GMT
Popstars rejects lose title fight
Liberty
All the band's releases have been put on hold
Popstars rejects Liberty have been ordered to stop using their name after a high court judge ruled another band had claim to the title.

The band formed after the five members failed to reach the final cut on the hit TV show Popstars, missing the chance to be part of Hear'Say.

Richard Branson's V2 label signed up the band, dubbed flopstars, and the name Liberty was chosen.

But the name had already been taken by an East London funk band who had achieved a small amount of success in the early 1990s.

Hear'Say
The winners of Popstars went onto be part of the Hear'Say phenomenon
They filed a lawsuit claiming the right to the name and have been granted an injunction preventing the new Liberty from using it.

Mr Justice Laddie agreed that by another band using the same name it could damage the original band's reputation, winning their claim of "passing off".

Modest damages

The original Liberty won the Capital Radio Young Band of the Year contest in 1994 and went on to release records in the Europe and the US.

They were invited to tour with Wet, Wet, Wet and Eternal.

Although the judge did admit their days of exposure were over he agreed the publicity surrounding the new Liberty will "swamp their reputation" and they would stand no chance of being signed to a major record company if there was another group of the same name.

Lawyers said "modest damages" would now be sought.

Both sides are now locked in discussions about a new name, which may incorporate the word liberty.

Any material due for release has been put on hold after the judge said he would recall any material the pop band released under the name Liberty.

Richard Branson
Richard Branson signed the new Liberty to his V2 label

Tension

The new Liberty - Jessica Taylor, Kevin Simm, Tony Lundon, Michelle Heaton and Kelli Young - have released two singles so far.

Their debut Thinking it Over reached the top five but the second offering, Doing It, did not do as well.

Kevin Sutherland, 32, who formed the original band in 1989, said after the hearing: "We did this to protect bands everywhere from having their names stolen.

"We were not in it for the money, even though there was more tension in the court than on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?."

He said his band still had a future in the music industry and were still recording.

See also:

10 Apr 01 | Music
Popstars reject in album talks
01 Apr 01 | Music
Hear'Say make chart history
02 Apr 01 | Music
Near'Say: Cloning the Popstars
27 Mar 01 | Wales
Stereophonics attack TV popstar
26 Mar 01 | Reviews
Hear'Say play it safe
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