Earth, Wind & Fire Sues Group Using Its Name


Earth, Wind & Fire is suing the promoters of a group calling itself Legacy Reunion: Earth, Wind & Fire Alumni.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Florida, Earth, Wind & Fire alleges “trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising and trademark dilution.”

It claims Substantial Music Group LLC and Stellar Communications Inc. are promoting “a band that is not associated with nor authorized by, but nevertheless prominently uses Earth, Wind & Fire’s marks and logo to mislead the ticket-buying public into mistakenly believing that the real Earth, Wind & Fire is performing at concerts.”

A description of the “legacy” act online reads: “Legacy Reunion reunites Earth, Wind & Fire alumni for an evening of monster grooves, high energy, and danceable hits.”

But, the lawsuit claims “a few musicians who previously had played with the real Earth, Wind & Fire as side musicians for brief periods up to three decades previously” have been joined by musicians who never played with Earth, Wind & Fire. They are accused of hatching “a scheme to false imply in advertising that this new group was the real Earth, Wind & Fire” to benefit from its “commercial magnetism and immense goodwill.”

Earth, Wind & Fire is known for such hits as “Boogie Wonderland," "Shining Star" and "September." 

According to the complaint, the defendants previously agreed to change the act’s name from Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion to Legacy Reunion of Earth, Wind & Fire Alumni.

Earth, Wind & Fire is seeking an injunction to stop the “legacy” group as well as monetary damages.

Substantial Music Group LLC founder Richard Smith, identified in a LinkedIn profile as “Guitarist Earth Wind & Fire,” said in a statement to Billboard that he is disappointed by the lawsuit. “I was personally a member of the band for five years and performed on two tours and one album,” he said. “I’m proud to be an alumnus of the musical group and the corporation’s dismissiveness of my and others’ contributions to Earth, Wind & Fire is hurtful. We will not be erased.”

The real Earth, Wind & Fire – which includes Philip Bailey, Verdine Bailey and Ralph Johnson – announced Monday they are going on tour with Lionel Richie this summer, including shows in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Artist Radio

Listen to music from Earth, Wind & Fire