A corporation ate my name

Bonnie Veronica is a Sacramento freelance artist and singer-songwriter

Ten years ago, I was on a philosophical and creative path that led me to adopt a new identity, including a new name: Veronica. I decided to use it in all of my creative endeavors and musical ventures. Soon after, I collaborated with some fellow musicians and began to harness a passion for singing and playing the guitar.

We started a band, which we called The Veronicas.

We discovered that the rights to our name were free and clear. We established that name with promotions, rehearsals, writing, recording, gigging and traveling all over the state, and also maintained a Web site that kept our local following up to date with our goings-on. We didn’t have much money, but our devotion made up for it, and we worked relentlessly.

In February, we began receiving e-mails addressed to The Veronicas that consisted of schedules and plans for promotions. We were perplexed, but responded, since there obviously was some confusion. We reiterated who we were, just in case they were looking for some other band.

Then we received a phone call from a trademark attorney in New York, who explained that a duo of teenage twins from Australia that had been using the name “The Veronicas” had just signed a deal with Warner in the United States for $2 million. They were planning a record release for July 2005, and wanted to buy the name. Considering that we were dealing with a major corporation, if we elected to fight, it would more than likely be a losing battle.

Our band had just finished a CD that we anticipated to release in April. We obviously had no million-dollar deal on the table, but our lives were completely immersed in our music. We’d built a sizable base; losing our name meant we’d have to start over.

The Veronicas have rights, but how can we stand up to a corporation, where money speaks louder than any person could ever hope to? When I think about The Veronicas, I remember the creative journey that paved a path toward music and enlightened lyrical content. It’s been a journey of self-discovery and expression, but now I wonder if I’m going to be forced to allow another teenage filler band buy it away from me. Only time will tell.