Tyrone Banks could not have thought he would end up being sued by one of the nation’s most beloved hockey franchises when he set foot in a studio booth well over a year ago, but that is exactly what has happened. The Raleigh man has been named in a federal, class-action lawsuit for, in essence, being a fan of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes franchise.
The lawsuit accuses the North Carolinian of violating team trademarks, citing a song that he made for the team as their evidence, which can understandably be perceived mindboggling to the rapper considering the facts surrounding the song. Banks created the track as a fan, and wanted to use his work to promote the team, a goal that those in the Hurricane’s front office saw no problem with at one point.
Produced in 2007, Banks “Carolina Hurricanes” was an original work of fandom given to the team. The Raleigh rapper requested that the song be played during games; a request the Hurricanes fully obliged, even going as far as using short segments in online spots, ads, and television commercials. The franchise offered complimentary home game tickets as compensation. Still, the franchise cited trademark infringement as their motivation for taking their dispute to court.
Official documents for the lawsuit reveal that the Hurricanes are accusing Banks of misusing trademarks by referring to his song as the “Official Carolina Hurricanes Song” and for sporting a Hurricanes jersey in promotional material for the tune.
The team also alleges that Banks was promoting the song in a way that would insinuate a relationship between he and the team while claiming that images of him in Hurricanes regalia has damaged the franchise. Banks has filed a counter-suit and is demanding compensation for his work, claiming that he only authorized use of his music during games as long as the team displayed his name, song title, and name of his record company while the song was playing.