RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes have sued a Raleigh hip-hop artist who produced a song promoting the franchise, saying the man has violated team trademarks.
The federal lawsuit accuses Tyrone Banks of misusing trademarks by referring to the tune as “the official Carolina Hurricanes song” and wearing a Hurricanes jersey in promotional material.
“We look at our name and our trademarks as our most valuable assets, and they need to be protected,” said William Traurig, general counsel for the Hurricanes.
Banks produced “Carolina Hurricanes” in 2007 and provided a copy of the song to the team, asking the Hurricanes play the music during games, according to court documents. The lawsuit said the Hurricanes did use the song during games and short segments of it appeared in a television ad and online video.
Banks also received complimentary tickets to a game, when the Hurricanes played the song, highlighted Banks in the audience and displayed his name on the scoreboard.
“Carolina Hurricanes. That’s our team, say the name,” the song’s chorus repeats.
But the Hurricanes say Banks is promoting sales of the song in a way that would incorrectly suggest an affiliation between him and the team.
The Hurricanes sent Banks a cease-and-desist notice in February and he responded by removing the term “official” or “anthem” from his website and added disclaimers, according to the suit. But the Hurricanes complained that Banks is still seen wearing a Hurricanes jersey in promotional material and said the franchise has been damaged by the unauthorized use of trademarks.
Banks did not immediately responded to a message seeking comment.
The lawsuit filed on Friday said Banks has demanded compensation for the song, claiming that he authorized use of the music only during games so long as the team displayed his name, song title, and name of his record company while the song was playing.