Mon | Jul 26, 2021

Legal battle with Toots’ estate and Maytals Band ‘a storm in a teacup’

Published:Monday | July 19, 2021 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Members of the Maytals Band with Toots. The band has been sent a cease and desist letter by the estate of the late reggae icon, over the use of the name ‘Maytals’. They have been using the name for over 50 years.
Members of the Maytals Band with Toots. The band has been sent a cease and desist letter by the estate of the late reggae icon, over the use of the name ‘Maytals’. They have been using the name for over 50 years.
Toots and the Maytals celebrating their 2005 Grammy win.
Toots and the Maytals celebrating their 2005 Grammy win.
Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert, late frontman of Toots and the Maytals.
Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert, late frontman of Toots and the Maytals.
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Clifton ‘Jackie’ Jackson, a founding member of reggae band The Maytals, is dismissing as “a storm in a teacup” recent reports that a legal battle is looming between the estate of Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, otherwise called Toots and the Maytals, and the members of the band over the use of the name.

Toots died at the University Hospital of the West Indies on September 11, 2020, and since then the band has not been on the road, owing to the global pandemic. However, they are making plans to start touring soon. Jackson, the group’s bass player, admitted that the letter does exist, and it seeks to restrict the band from performing as ‘The Maytals’.

The letter stated: “It has come to our attention that you, or persons purporting to be authorised by you, are infringing and/or contemplating the infringement of our clients’ service mark, “Toots and the Maytals” by, inter alia, advertising and offering to provide entertainment services using the mark The Maytals Band. Be advised that your use, or threatened use, of said mark is confusingly similar to our clients’ “Toots and the Maytals” mark and is, or will be, an infringement of our clients’ rights in their mark and will cause them irreparable damages including, but not limited to, the denigration and dilution of our clients’ mark and its value and will confuse the public as to the source of said services and the authority under which your entertainment services and related products or services are provided. Accordingly, our clients hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist your use or contemplated use of any mark confusingly similar to our clients’ mark including, but not limited to, your use or contemplated use of the mark, “The Maytals Band”.

Jackson, who has toured with Toots and the Maytals from 1976 and who did his first recording with the ska, rocksteady, and reggae giant some eight years prior, told The Gleaner that the matter is in the capable hands of the band’s attorney.

“Our legal team will be issuing a release at the appropriate time, and we have been advised not to discuss it at this time. However, all I will say is that it is a storm in a teacup,” he said.

Jackson and his Maytals band members - Charles Faquharson, Carl Harvey, Earl Paul Douglas, and Radcliffe Bryan - intend to hit the roaed using the Maytals name, a title that they have been using for more than half a century.

In an interview with The Gleaner on March 14, this year, the same day when it was announced that Toots and the Maytals had won the Reggae Grammy for the album Got to be Tough, Jackson had shared that they were working on an album, which was nearing completion. The group had also won the Grammy award for Best Reggae Album in 2005 for True Love

“I am happy to tell you that I got my first COVID shot yesterday, and I’ll be getting my next one on May 20, so as soon as it is possible to hit the road, we will be there. Our new album is 75 per cent complete. Booking agents are already calling. But for now, we are all savouring this wonderful [Grammy-winning] moment,” Jackson had said.

He confirmed that the album is now ready. “We have a production that we are taking on the road. We are not looking anyone to replace Frederick [Toots] because there can only be one Frederick,” Jackson declared.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com