Sunday, August 04, 2013

Yeah, I know: I heard. Greg Ginn has once again proven himself to be one of the more assholic individuals on earth and has decided to sue his ex-bandmates playing under the name FLAG (you know, the Black Flag-related supergroup fans really want to see). For some reason, he's even roped Hank Rollins into the mix, and since this news is rather fresh, I'm still trying to get my head around whereabouts he fits into the scenario. So far as I know, he's got nothing to do with FLAG and has pretty much given up playing music at all the past couple of years. Whatever. You can read the proposed case here. All personal feelings aside - and I do feel that Ginn should simply stop embarrassing himself and drop the suit, pronto - he may well find himself winning the case. The courts aren't about personal feelings, and let me make the crazy assumption that the judge in question likely couldn't give a fuck about the music of Black Flag either way, and Ginn's case states some simple facts: like it or not, he does hold the rights to the Black Flag name, its music and logo, and thus from a cold, legal standpoint is within his right to protect it from others attempting to profit from its likeness. Those are simple facts. Take a look at what FLAG are doing: the songs, the logo. Got me? The worlds collide here in Melbourne town this coming November. My two long-running obsessions coalesce on one evening: November the 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, and it also marks Black Flag's debut in this fair city, playing at the shitawful Hits And Pits festival with a bunch of emo/pop-punk oxygen thieves better left forgotten (or never known). No matter what a jerk Ginn may be, and no matter how uninspired this version of the band might be, I will be there. I really don't have a choice in the matter.


john reeves said...

The good for you/black flag set clocked in at about 3 hours. You have to get in a different space, an improv space, for it to work. I walked in expecting a train wreck but came away really liking the 2013 jam flag. And some respect for the rhythm section.

I think Greg would have let it go if Flag had packed it in after the July shows. But once they started to book shows into the fall, he had to shut it down. He said that he wants put out new music with Black Flag and keep touring, and he knows about putting out music and touring. As long as Flag is out there, there's confusion over the brand.

Trying to trademark the bars sounds like a Keith thing, not a Henry thing. I bet Henry will distance himself from this mess pretty quick.


Cousin Creep said...

Having read the complaint filed by Ginn, while it can be seen as a 'Asshole' move, Ginn does have some legit reasons (given the complaint) but on the logo front, Ginn might stand to lose a lot of pennies on the legal fight, and be foolish for challenging it.

For someone looking protect their logo, I am surprised Ginn never trademarked it. If you read the complaint, no mention was ever made of Ginn ever registering the logo, and the legal point made in the complaint was the trademark filing should be voided due to Rollins and Morris lying they had both used it since 1978 (now that's a little cheeky), but also I would predict they (Rollins/Morris) will utterly win this if Ginn challenges it in any Civil court.

For Rollins/Morris' defense, I would offer the following speculation. No Oections to the register of the trademark were not opposed (which Ginn's attorney will have a hard time depending) considering public notices were published by Hank/Morris within the 2 months and no still objection were made by Ginn nor his legal representation within the time before the trademark was awarded to Rollins/Morris.

The only way Ginn would gain any favorable result is the Civil Court passing judgement requiring Rollins/Morris to include Ginn in the filing as a registered party due to his prior use/membership, so I don't think they will lose their status as owners of the logo.

Another defense move would be to point out, Ginn had failed to register the logo since it's first use in 1978, and be viewed as dormant since any trademark owhership lapsed immediately the moment Flag disbanded. And if Rollins/Morris were to register such a trademark, you can bet they had paid for such legal opinion that told them that exact point yes they would own it free and clear due to it's lapsed/non trademarked status.

I also think the whole lawsuit will go away if Morris/Rollins settle with Ginn, only if Ginn agrees to become a registered party to the logo, so long as he drops all other complaints against all other parties. Otherwise, Ginn will spend a lot of pennies with very little to gain.

Steve Hughes said...

This might be one of the worst, weirdest line ups I've ever seen... and I say that as an un-closeted fan of pop-punk, too. Is the theme here "washed up"?

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

OK Dave it's been over a month. Back you come now...

TheWadeThomasReports said...


My good god, I keep coming back to your blog for more and more just about every day. I learn something new from you all the time. When will this content be all slapped together into ebook format ala Woebot? I feel like we could be best friends. My dad's name is Dave. I watched Southern Comfort today in its entirety on Youtube. It was great. I tried Sorcerer but the quality of it was terrible and it's pretty difficult to begin with. The music you get me to mine fucking rules. Basically I owe you bundles. Jesus, when is your next post?

Wade T Oberlin

Anonymous said...

I *demand* a review of this!

Jimmy said...

I saw the Sydney show and it wasn't half bad. They only played for 40-45 minutes (after getting on stage an hour late) but I reckon that was just about enough. The rhythm section was a bit ordinary but Ginn smoked when he wasn't playing his theremin. That's who I was there to see & I wasn't disappointed. Set was drawn mainly from 'Damaged' & the earlier EPs with just one or two from the new record & 'Black Coffee' from the post-Damaged albums.

Cousin Creep said...


1) the court found that SST had no rights in the trademarks;
(2) Ginn seemed to have no individual rights in the Black Flag trademarks;
(3) even if either had had any rights in those marks, they had abandoned those rights through a failure to police the mark for nearly 30 years;
(4) the defendants’ claim that the Black Flag assets were owned by a statutory partnership comprised of various former band members – even if these members only consisted of Henry and Ginn, based on (a) accepting Ginn’s argument that he never quit and given that there is no evidence or allegation that Henry ever quit – has merit;
(5) that even if the plaintiffs had some trademark claim in the marks, there was no likelihood of consumer confusion between Black Flag and Flag given the ample press coverage over the dispute; and
(6) the trademark application and registration that Henry and Keith made was done in good faith (e.g. not fraudulently) – and is thus not necessarily subject to cancellation – given that they understood their actions to have been done on the part of the Black Flag partnership (see No. 4, above).