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    Stage names registered as commodities?
    Update :Wednesday, 6-17-2009

    Singer Trí Phong has changed his stage name several times but he doesn’t become famous.

    VietNamNet Bridge – A stage name is a special kind of brand. Should artists register their stage names for exclusive ownership?


    When artists lose their stage names


    Stage names may be real names or nicknames. Stage names mean nothing to nameless artists. However, many famous artists don’t understand their importance.


    A young man from a southern province went to HCM City, aiming to become a singer. He won first prize in a singing competition held by the HCM City Youth Cultural House in 2000 with his real name, Huynh Hong Hai.


    To become a professional singer, Hai used the stage name Thai Phong. After a long time of being neglected, he changed to Tri Phong. This name didn’t help him win fame so he changed to Trí Phong (adding an acute accent only). But this will not be Hai’s last stage name.


    “From now to the year’s end, if nobody knows who I am, I will change my stage name again,” Hai said.


    Such is one story illustrating the mania that surrounds the name game.


    Many nameless singers and artists have taken stage names that are similar to famous ones. Popular comedian Bao Quoc has a Tieu Bao Quoc out there cashing in off his name, cai luong artist Kim Tu Long has a Kim Tieu Long, cai luong artist Vu Linh, a Vu Luan.


    Companies that invest in young singers have named their singers after famous Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean or American singers, such as Tu Minh Hy (imitating the name of a famous Chinese singer), Akira Phan, Tim, GMC and others.


    It is difficult to invest in strange, unique stage names and it is more difficult to build up the names so these firms struggle to keep their stage names. Thien Thi and Music Box didn’t allow singers Tim and Tu Minh Hy to continue using these stage names once they left the companies.


    Stage names to be registered?


    Singer Lieu often hides his face but he is afraid of losing his stage name.

    Not only famous singers and artists think of protecting their stage names. Different from other singers, Lieu often appears on stage in ugly features. Recently, he made himself up as a clown for shows.


    “My name is not famous but I’m in the fashion business so I worry that someone may open Lieu or Lieu Anh Tuan fashion shops. If that happens, I will ask for the assistance of brand protection agencies,” Lieu said.


    Famous singer My Tam also wonders about stage name registration. “I thought of this already but I haven’t registered the name yet. I’ve just registered the name of My Tam company,” she said.


    My Tam didn’t agree with the use of similar stage names, saying that it can make audiences misunderstand.


    “Some show organisers advertise that their shows have singers Cao My Tam, Tieu My Tam. I’m concerned that audiences will think that My Tam is in these shows,” she said.


    Recently, Thien Thi company registered the stage name “Singer Tim” with the National Intellectual Property Office. Lawyer Nguyen Truong An, from the Pham & Associates law firm, which helped Thien Thi register the name, said: “Stage names don’t need to be registered. They may be real or nicknames. Nobody has the right to monopolise names, either normal or stage names.”


    The lawyer said that the registration of “Singer Tim” was a label registration, including logo and the words “Singer Tim” for some services provided by Thien Thi company, including show organisation, vocational training, film production and distribution.


    This means that “Singer Tim” is registered for specific services. Thien Thi doesn’t have the right to monopolise this stage name and ban others from using this name.


    The Vietnam Copyright Agency told VietNamNet that no artist has registered a stage name with the agency because the state doesn’t protect names. There is a phenomenon of using names of famous people to do business. This can be dealt with through the Unhealthy Competition Prevention Law.


    Tuan Hai – Thanh Chung

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