Fans of punk rock are probably familiar with two Black Flag reunions touring this year — one as Black Flag with founder and guitarist Greg Ginn and the other as Flag with former Black Flag members Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowskiand, Bill Stevenson and the Descendents’ Stephen Egerton. However, if Ginn has it his way, his version will be the only one using any variation of the name.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ginn has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday (Aug 2nd) against his former bandmates, including Henry Rollins, named as Henry Garfield, and Egerton, claiming he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name and “Flag” variation, including the logo that Flag is using on tour. Ginn is seeking an injunction against Flag’s current tour and describes the alleged infringement of the logo and name Flag as a “colorable imitation” of Ginn’s service mark and trademark that’s “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers.”
Ginn accuses Morris and Rollins of fraud and lying to the Trademark Office on registrations by using Rollins’ own label’s record covers and bootleg SST t-shirts to show they had been making records and merchandise during this time when in fact, they have not.
The lawsuit alleges that Morris, Cadena, Dukowskiand, Stevenson and Egerton have been using the name Flag since around May 27, 2013 while Ginn has been consistently performing under the Black Flag name and logo since the band’s first album was released in October 1978 by SST and the group’s first public performance in January 1979.
Ginn founded Black Flag in Hermosa Beach, CA in 1976. The group underwent several lineup changes before disbanding in 1986. The band briefly reunited in 2003 and officially again in January 2013 when Ginn announced he was launching a tour with a new lineup. Ginn’s brother, Raymond Pettibon, suggested the name after designing the band’s logo: a stylized black flag with four black bars, and claiming that a black flag represents anarchy since a white flag represents surrender.
Rollins, the most notable Black Flag member, is known for his music, radio show on KCRW 89.9 FM in Los Angeles, a column in LA Weekly and a role on FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.