All is not good with veteran R&B band Blackstreet, as reports have emerged producer and lead singer of the estranged group Teddy Riley has filed a lawsuit against his former band mates Mark Middleton and Eric Williams accusing them of illegally using the group’s name.
In the lawsuit, filed at District Court, Eastern District of Virginia it claims that from 2003 until now Middleton and Williams have booked themselves for performances using the name Blackstreet without the proper permission or consent, as Teddy Riley and Chauncey Hannibal have held the rights to the name since 1992, before the release of any Blackstreet albums.
Lawyers claim that Middleton and Williams have ignored cease and desist letters and still continue to book shows as Blackstreet and this confusion has reportedly resulted in the cancellation of an official Blackstreet tour of Europe. According to Riley and Hannibal, on joining the group five years after Blackstreet initially formed the two men signed contracts which made clear that they were works for hire and had no rights to use the Blackstreet name.
During an interview on Jenny Boom Boom’s show on Hot 93.7 based in Hartford, Connecticut Middleton and Williams discussed their issues with Riley and Hannibal, claiming that there were two “different sets” of Blackstreet because Teddy Riley and Chauncey Hannibal have refused to share proceeds.
The lawsuit states: “Defendants have used the name and mark Blackstreet in such a manner as to create actual confusion and likelihood of confusion among prospective customers and/or purchasers of the services provided by plaintiffs”
“Defendants have harmed the goodwill of plaintiffs in the name and mark Blackstreet, causing immediate and irreparable harm to plaintiffs.”