Canadian Band “Wyrd Sisters” Sues WB

Sep 30, 2005

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


ChartAttack reports that Canadian folk band Wyrd Sisters has sued Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada, Warner Brothers Records, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead’s Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood for trademark infringement in an Ontario court. Their attorney, Kimberly Townley Smith, complained:

If you go on the ‘net now and put in Harry Potter and Wyrd Sisters you get 6,000 hits or something crazy like that. People know already and that’s because up until recently Warner had them credited and the official word was that the name of the band was The Wyrd Sisters. They’ve already created an association between the name and the band and that’s all you need.

In a Google search, there were more than 20,000 pages that include both sets of terms, but a large number of them are actually references to Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters, which was published in the late 1980s. While trademark law in Canada is slightly different from the laws in the US and the UK, it is likely that a court hearing this matter would examine the genesis of the term, and how frequently it is used by third parties that are unrelated to either the plaintiff or the defendants, including the fact that both names are derived from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the fact that “Wyrd Sisters”, with that spelling, is, among other things, a Pratchett book title. If anyone has a copy of the complaint, please send it over to us at [email protected]

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.