July 10, 2012 5:47pm PT by Sarah Lindstedt
Hip-Hop Duo New Boyz Sued By Christian Rockers Newsboys Over Name
Sounds can be deceiving. So claim Australian Christian-rock band the Newsboys who have filed suit against hip-hop act the New Boyz -- comprised of rappers Earl "Ben J" Benjamin and Dominic "Legacy" Thomas -- and their label, Warner Bros., for trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.
At issue: alleged "confusion" over the group's two names which, according to Newsboys and their manager Wesley Campbell, sound so similar that fans have mistaken the band for the duo which raps on songs like "Tie Me Down" and "Backseat."
The Newsboys were founded in Australia in 1985, 23 years before the New Boyz debuted their viral hit single, “You’re a Jerk,” in 2009 and, in fact, before New Boyz' Ben J and Legacy were even born.
The suit, which was filed July 6 at District Court Middle Tennessee, Nashville Division, states that the Newsboys have documented “several instances of actual confusion among its customers, prospective customers and other outside observers who mistakenly assume a connection between plaintiff and defendant and the respective music they offer,” claiming that the New Boyz's music “is sexually charged and the lyrics are sexually explicit in content.”
With the lawsuit, the Christian rockers seek compensation for profits lost during the time of alleged "confusion."