Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Not to the people behind the Tattoo the Earth festival.
The organizers of last year's traveling rock-and-ink show — which featured the likes of Slipknot, Sepultura and Sevendust — are steaming over Tattoo the Planet, a European festival similarly devoted to metal music and body art.
Tattoo the Earth founder Scott Alderman and his partners intend to file suit against Helter Skelter, the U.K. promotion agency responsible for Tattoo the Planet, for what they feel is a blatant rip-off of Alderman's festival.
"There is enough confusion regarding the trademark and the way it's being used to raise an objection," Alderman contended, adding that his lawyers will officially inform Helter Skelter of their plans in a letter next week.
According to Alderman, Tattoo the Planet registered for its European trademark in September — a year and a half after Tattoo the Earth received its U.S. trademark and five months after a conversation took place with Helter Skelter about hosting a European leg of the U.S. fest.
Tattoo the Planet intends to route its trek throughout Europe and has already lined up three U.K. dates: London, Birmingham and Glasgow, according to England's New Musical Express.
Representatives of Helter Skelter, one of the largest overseas promoters of concerts and festivals, did not return calls by press time.
Pantera and Slayer — the latter of whom played last year's Tattoo the Earth — are slated to co-headline Tattoo the Planet, a Pantera spokesperson said. Alderman said that each band's management refused to comment when he confronted them, claiming they wanted to stay out of the controversy.
Not only does Alderman own the domain name tattootheearth.com, which he registered in November 1998, but he also owns tattootheplanet.com and tattootheworld.com, both registered in October 1999. He laid claim to the other two to make it easier on people surfing for tour information while being unclear on the name, Alderman said.
Hence, those who visit tattootheplanet.com won't find any information on the overseas tour — instead they'll be greeted by a message from the Tattoo the Earth team reading, in part:
"Tattoo the Planet is not Tattoo the Earth. ... We know we weren't the first ones to bring music and tattoos together, but we were the first ones to officially call it 'Tattoo the Earth.' There are only a couple of synonyms for earth, and with all the different ways to express the tattoo/music connection, this promoter chose Tattoo the Planet. We feel this is wrong."
Definitions of the words "steal" and "plagiarize" appear at the top of the page, and a link to join the "Plagiarism Is Not Cool" mailing list is also provided.
"If I don't have a legal basis for stopping them, I'm going to take it to the court of public opinion," Alderman said.
Last summer's Tattoo the Earth outing also featured Mudvayne, Hatebreed and Nashville Pussy, among others. Alderman is working on a new Tattoo the Earth series which he hopes to launch later this year.