(CN) - Members of a Celtic rock group from Texas claim in court that ex-members are using the band's copyrights and trademarks without permission.
Ed Walewski says he founded the Celtic rock band Needfire in 2004 and paid the other musicians in the band as independent contractors.
In 2007, Walewski changed the band's structure to an equal partnership between him and members John and Dylan Cleghorn, according to the complaint in federal court in Dallas.
"Their agreement was only to share equally all expenses and revenues, and all resulting profits and losses, going forward," the complaint states.
The Cleghorns later left the band, which Walewski says ended their partnership.
"Since leaving the group, defendant John Cleghorn has embarked upon a course of action having the purpose and intent of damaging and destroying plaintiff Walewski's business, depriving Walewski of his right and ability to profit from the use of the 'Needfire' mark belong to him, and depriving all of the plaintiffs their right and ability to profit from the exploitation of the copyrights each had authored or co-authored," according to the lawsuit.
It continues: "Specifically, defendant John Cleghorn has claimed sole ownership of the 'Needfire' mark, as well as sole ownership of all the copyrights hereinafter described, and has demanded that plaintiffs cease and desist from using the same."
Despite the fact that Cleghorn has filed for the Needfire trademark, he has not used the mark since leaving the group, and knows he has no rights to the mark, Walewski says.
Cleghorn also allegedly registered the domains needfire.com and edwalewski.com as his own, which redirect to his website cleghornmusic.com. Thus, Walewski never receives email meant for Needfire, which he still performs in, according to the complaint.
The Cleghorns registered the copyrights for Needfire's songs, and named themselves the sole authors and copyright claimants in January 2011, even though they were not the only authors, the lawsuit states.
And former Needfire member Magen Brittany Miller left the band in 2011 and "took with her a piece of musical equipment belonging to Walewski," according to the complaint.
"Miller then proceeded to contact existing and prospective purchasers of plaintiffs' musical services, and make accusations of unethical and/or unlawful conduct by one or more plaintiffs, in an effort to damage plaintiffs' business and reputation," the lawsuit states.
Besides Walewski, band members Brad Madison, Matt Henthorn, Jim Folstad and Gabriel Martinez are named as plaintiffs.
They sued the Cleghorns and Miller for copyright infringement, cybersquatting, misappropriation, interference with business relations, conversion, and conspiracy.
The plaintiffs are represented by Charles McGarry of Dallas.