Boy Band One Direction Faces Lawsuit

By KATE MORAWETZ

One Direction has been an overnight sensation ever since the band was formed by Simon Cowell after the boys' appearances on the UK show, "The X Factor". The group’s arrival is being hailed as the new “British Invasion” especially after they had a successful performance on “Saturday Night Live” and their debut album recently topped the U.S. charts.

But there's a problem! Another U.S. band already calls itself One Direction. Simon's Syco Entertainment and Sony Music were hit with a $1 million lawsuit claiming that the "What Makes You Beautiful" quintet can't mount their U.S. invasion, without causing confusion and destroying the goodwill of the lesser-known U.S. based doppelganger.

As proof of the confusion, the plaintiffs point to a recent segment on NBC's Today, where the U.K. teen-scream group was shown, accompanied accidentally by music from the U.S. band.

In case you don’t know One Direction (U.S.) – they are an unsigned band, who’s been selling their album on iTunes since February 2011 well before One Direction U.K. released its own album, "Up All Night," in America.

Peter Ross, the U.S. band’s attorney maintains that Simon's company should have known better than to bring his band to the U.S. as "One Direction." "Rather than change their name or do anything to create confusion or avoid damage to our goodwill, they chose to press ahead and come on their tour," says the lawyer. Meanwhile, Simon and One Direction (U.K.) allegedly are resisting changing their name, perhaps because they've already become quite famous.

And 1D isn't alone! This isn’t the first time Simon has been involved with a name dispute. In 2011, X Factor winners Rhythmix were asked to change their name after a Brighton based charity of the same name threatened to sue over the trademark disputeDays later, Syco Entertainment changed the band’s name from “Rhythmix” to “Little Mix”. With only so many great band names out there, the history of pop music is replete with disputes. Some memorable band name controversies include:

The Tea Set vs. Pink Flloyd - In 1965, Pink Floyd (originally named The Tea Set) were booked to play a show with another band, also called the Tea Set. Wishing to avoid confusion, Syd Barrett changed his group's name to the Pink Floyd Sound in reference to blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

DFA Records vs. Death from Above 1979 – Sebastian Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler were none too happy about adding “1979” to their name after the New York City dance label DFA Records threatened the band with legal action.

The Dust Brothers vs. The Chemical Brothers – When the electronic duo now known as The Chemical Brothers formed in 1991, they named themselves after the American production team the Dust Brothers, who unsurprisingly took exception and threatened legal action against them.  Four years later, the UK band changed their name to the Chemical Brothers in reference to their own song “Chemical Beats.”