A December trial date is scheduled in a lawsuit in which British songwriter Peter Beckett accuses Keith Urban of stealing his band’s name — Player — for a guitar lesson package the country singer is selling on the Home Shopping Network and online.
The trademark violation complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court earlier this year alleges Urban is being “fraudulent and malicious” in marketing the 50-piece “Keith Urban Player” acoustic guitar kit, which includes a signature guitar, instructional DVD series and other items.
A request for comment left with Urban’s attorney was not immediately answered.
Beckett contends the “American Idol” judge snatched the “Player” name after the band performed its 1978 chart-topper “Baby Come Back” on an episode of the daytime soap opera “General Hospital” last year.
The lawsuit also names HSN and Urban’s company Guitar Monkey Entertainment as defendants.
“Defendants’ use of the trade name and trademark Player … are likely to deceive and will continue to deceive the consuming public,” the suit alleges. “Defendants knew, recklessly disregarded, or reasonably should have known that such packaging, advertising, marketing, and promotion was untrue and/or misleading.”
Urban’s “deceptive” use of the “Player” name will cause the group “irreparable injury” that “cannot be adequately calculated and compensated in monetary damages,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks at least $1 million in damages.
The plaintiff further alleges that if an injunction is not granted, “one day consumers may come to believe that ‘Baby Come Back’ was written and performed” by Urban rather than Beckett.
Beckett also contends that the Grammy Award-winning country singer star needs to link his name to the band Player’s because “if not for his marriage to Nicole Kidman and if not for his appearance as a judge on the tail end of the now-canceled ‘American Idol,’ defendant Urban’s fame would be limited to country fans for just a few more years.”
The Dec. 15 trial date was set by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real.
— City News Service