From teen star MattyB who gained viral traction on YouTube to rising rapper Gunna, Georgia has birthed many new entertainers throughout the past decade. Although both these artists have released music with rap elements, their delivery, lyrics and production styles are very different. But what they do have in common is millions of follows and streams across several social media sites and services. These two Georgia natives also have another thing in common, they’ve trademarked their name.

A trademark is a way to not only identify your brand as an entertainer, but also protect your creative work. If you don’t file your stage name through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, then someone else could release similar music under the same name and legally profit from it.

Infringement damages

As an artist or entertainer in any medium, producing work that influences others to create can be rewarding. For example, if a well-known choreographer uploads a clip dancing to your latest single and it garners thousands of views online, then that is productive for both you and the dancer. But when someone uses your stage name to create profitable T-shirts or other merchandise, that’s a different story. With a trademarked name or brand, you can seek trademark infringement damages, but if you don’t it will be more difficult to build a case.

Information overload

Whether you have just began your musical journey or have been in the game for a while, chances are you use the internet to share your work. The internet makes music consumption easy, but music discovery can be a maze as artists across the globe upload content daily. Having a trademarked name can prevent others from using the same name, and it makes your music or merch easier to locate online. Georgia statutes protect you from this sort of dilution as well as anyone who may try to use your name in a negative way and tarnish your brand.

Running your own brand in any industry is challenging, and the entertainment business is no exception. Filing for trademarks and copyrighting your work can help keep you ahead of your competition.