Canadian folk group, The Wyrd Sisters, are seeking a court injunction to stop to the distribution of the upcoming film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Canada.
According to Kimberly Townley-Smith, the band’ s lawyer, a scene in the movie includes a band of wizards called “The Wyrd Sisters,” who play at the Hogwarts Yule Ball. Originally, JK Rowling dubbed the band the “The Weird Sisters,” but Warner Bros decided to change the spelling to “Wyrd” for the movie.
The band claims that their name, a brand they have been building for the last 15 years, is being threatened by WB, which puts them in the position of either having to start over again with a new title, or having to struggle for recognition in the overwhelming shadow cast by the Harry Potter phenomena.
“[Harry Potter] is so much more huge than us in their reach, that we’ll go out on tour a month after the movie comes out — and we’ll go all over to Australia, to New Zealand — and people will wonder who are these strange people stealing the Harry Potter name?” – Kim Baryluk – The Wyrd Sisters
In their defense, Warner Bros. has made a statement that the band in the movie aren’t named, and that they have no intention to use The Wyrd Sisters moniker. However, according to Townley-Smith, Warner Bros had already referred to the band as The Wyrd Sisters, and damage has already been done.
If you go on the ‘net now and put in Harry Potter and Wyrd Sisters you get 6,000 hits or something crazy like that. People know already and that’s because up until recently Warner had them credited and the official word was that the name of the band was The Wyrd Sisters. They’ve already created an association between the name and the band and that’s all you need. – Townley-Smith
TWS have also issued a statement of claim seeking $40-million plus punitive damages against Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada, Warner Brothers Records, as well as British band Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead’s Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood, who portray the Harry Potter Wyrd Sisters band members.
[Johnny and Phil] were asked to be in the film to be The Wyrd Sisters, which is what J.K. Rowling called the band and then there’s this [Canadian] band called The Wyrd Sisters, so now they can’t be called The Wyrd Sisters,” says a member of Radiohead’s management, who didn’t want to be named. “The [Canadian] Wyrd Sisters are just trying to sue them for namesake. The whole story is just a couple of people in a band trying to get some money.’- Chart Attack
As would be expected, the original “Wyrd Sisters” are being portrayed as unreasonable, gold digging, unknowns by Potter, Radiohead, and Pulp fans amongst others, but are their portrayals justified? Not according to the band, who’ve posted a statement on their website quoting a Warner Bros. lawyer who had approached them about the use of their moniker…
Things are…errr… interesting around here. Okay, maybe interesting is not the right word. Terrifying would be closer. It all started with a phone call recently from a Warner bros lawyer. The fellow said: “We’re making a big movie and putting together a band of famous musicians together called the Wyrd Sisters. We’re going to make a big splash, sound tracks, the whole shebang! So… you don’t want our army of lawyers shutting down your girls’ band… sign this piece of paper and we’ll give you $5000.
Here’s the way it is. We said no. It is our name. We own it. We’re not about to be threatened into giving up our name. And Warner Bros has no business making a movie with a band with our name in it without at least some simple courtesy. All kinds of untrue things are circulating about our situation, but I am unfortunately unable to publicly discuss anything at this point. Suffice it to say that we didn’t go looking for Warner…they came looking for us. – The Wyrd Sisters
WB later offered $50,000 to the band to “share” its name, but that too was refused, and in my mind, the band’s decision was justified. Is $50,000 a reasonable price tag to place on a brand you’ve invested 15 years of your life towards building, not to mention the financial investment? Let’s see…$50,000 divided between three members, divided by 15 years, comes to a grand total of $1,100.00 per year each. With four albums, and two Juno nominations (which happen to bear their name) to their credit, I’d say they’re worth a bit more than what a WB exec. probably spends on an average business dinner.
My advice to The Wyrd Sisters…..Change your name to ‘The Harry Potter Trio.’ I’m sure they wouldn’t mind “sharing”…. AOL-Time Warner threatens children running Harry Potter fan sites
Oh, and the band happens to be pretty darn good. Check them out.Powered by Sidelines