Wyrd Sisters sue members of Pulp and Radiohead

Published: 2005-10-04
If you're excited about the release of the upcoming Harry Potter movie Goblet of Fire in November than you may know that the Hogwart's Yule Ball will feature a live band. Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead's Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood will play the band called the Weird Sisters in the film. In real life the rockers along with Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada and Warner Brothers Records are being sued by the real Wyrd Sisters.

The Juno nominated, Winnipeg folk band were pretty peeved at the fact that the name that they had been using for fifteen years was now going to be used by someone else. Even though Warner has pointed out that though the band is called the Weird sisters in the book they will not be using the name in the movie.

Recent press reports state singer and co-founder Kim Baryluk wasn't even aware that they shared a name with the wizard band until June when Warner offered them $5000 to share the name. When she refused they offered her $50 000 which she still didn't accept. She told ChartAttack "Do you know what I've spent on the band in the past 10 years?Ö In the last 10 years I've spent more than a million dollars. Offering me $50,000 is more than an insult."

But what does that have to do with boys in the fake band? Baryluk's lawyer says "Whether Warner made them or paid them, they were performing as The Wyrd Sisters. We hope there's artists respect there as well."

Whether or not there's artist respect there's certainly no respect from Radiohead's management who told ChartAttack "The [Canadian] Wyrd Sisters are just trying to sue them for namesake. The whole story is just a couple of people in a band trying to get some money."

Though Baryluk admits it will be an uphill battle, she still thinks it's a battle worth fighting.

The whole thing's a little wyrd if you ask me.

Writer: Michelle Garcia



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I sure don't understand why people think the band's efforts are a cash grab. Imagine if you wanted to start your own record company and call it Warner Brothers? Or how about a car company called Ford? Or a fast food outlet called McDonalds? The point is that Warner Brothers wanted to make a big splash over Potter's group the Weird Sisters by hiring famous rock stars and didn't do their research until AFTER the scenes were shot. So then they tried to get out of trouble by offering the band the first, what - 5 g's?

The band, the Winnipeg band, has every right to defend their name.

Good luck, I say!

J in SK
Posted by: Anonymous on October 04, 2005
I know from personal experience with Kim Baryluk that money comes first and music comes last. The Wyrd Sisters should have ended with the departure of Nancy Reinhold, but oh nooo... Kim Baryluk has bullied her way through Canada's precious folk culture one last time. I guess she really must think that her fans are stupid(if there's any fans left) to support her on this one. It's time for Kim to hang-up her sleazy corset, throw in her stinky towel and hide out under a rock for the rest of her life... I mean to sue a money sucking corporation is one thing, to sue a fellow musician is just plain evil.

-L. Janeo
Posted by: Anonymous on October 04, 2005
Give me a break. The band is obviously taking a run at second-hand fame. $40 million? Unreasonable and ridiculous. Why didn't they sue JK Rowling instead of the movie company? How naive of them to state publicly that their (questionable) careers would be ruined if their name appeared in the movie. If they had any brains at all (in place of their obvious greed) they would realize that it could only help their career. Give it up Baryluk, you are looking foolish.
California, USA
Posted by: Anonymous on October 05, 2005
They should have taken the $50,000! The fact that their name isn't even mentioned in the movie makes this so much more frivolous. "I'm suing because you were thinking of using my name"! The judge will have them out of the courthouse before coffee break. It certainly doesn't help their fanbase by alienating the Potter fans by holding back the movie. Frankly, as a folk band, the media attention should have been welcomed. The movie doesn't use their name. The people that play the music don't look like them. The music doesn't sound like them. Cut and dry. I wish I could sit in the courtroom to hear the chuckles on the defense side.
Posted by: Anonymous on October 05, 2005
This is just a blatant cash grab and free publicity for a small band that nobody has heard of. Give me a break.

The Wyrd Sisters are from Greek Mythology, also known as the three fates. Remember "Clash of the Titans", the three old hags? The concept of the Wyrd Sisters or the Three Fates has been used throughout movies, music, books, comics, etc etc. Obviously they (the band) are into fantasy/mythology and not reality. If the band hadn't noticed, so is Harry Potter.

I don't think anyone will relate a scene from a popular movie to some no-name band. I also don't think that the movie will prevent this band from 'making it big'. As if it hasn't happend in 10 years, it's probably not going to happen.

Give me a break. My favourite colours are red and yellow. Maybe I should sue Harry Potter for waring the colours I like. I will forever be thought of the "Harry Potter Guy" and I'd loose my identity. Or maybe Marvel Entertainment should sue Harry Potter as they had a Pheonix in one of their movies, yet there is a character called "The Phoenix".
Posted by: Anonymous on October 05, 2005
I wonder what would happen if Warner had called the film band "Radiohead", and then phoned up and offered Selway $5000 (but didn't actually offer him the gig).
Warner employs enough lawyers and represents enough artists that it should know how to wade these waters with a little more grace.
Posted by: Anonymous on October 05, 2005
I have been a fan of the Wyrd Sister's since I was old enough to attend folk festivals on my own. Kim Baryluk is a singer/songwriter that memories are made of. Now the future of this band is jeopordized because Warner Bros did not have the courtesy to recognize the fact this name is already associated with the Winnipeg Band. I have lived in Europe for the last three years and I assure you this band has a devoted European following! Keep making beautiful poetic music Kim. Just one of your many fans...love always Debbie
Posted by: Debbie on October 08, 2005
The fact that there is already a published book by author Terry Pratchett with the same name "The Wyrd Sisters" and the fact that they also borrow the name "All things Wyrd and Wonderful" for their newsletter from another author by the name of Stewart Henderson who penned the book "All things Weird and Wonderful" suggest to me that they only have money in mind. J.K's band is "The Weird Sisters" and Warner brothers chose to change it to "Wyrd". Wouldn't changing it back solve all the problems?
Posted by: Anonymous on October 12, 2005
I'm so sick of politically correct self-righteous Canadian bands like this one stomping on everyone and everything because it's "their right". Well, Wyrd Sisters - take your Lilith Fair Secular Noise and flush it down the toilet where it belongs. Make your money off your songs honestly instead of the short cut route. Channel your efforts to 3rd world relief instead of worrying if someone used "your name". Maybe Shakespeare or Terry Pratchett should sue you and put you out of your misery. You should appreciate the notoriety - you aren't getting it any other way....

Hornby Island, BC
Posted by: Anonymous on October 26, 2005
Man, talk about your desperate move to try and get free publicity. Wyrd Sisters on the move to the US scene riding the backs of Warner Bros. soon to be released film, "Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire". Be weary fans as there is a "Wyrd" attempt by the sisters of Canada. Now that we all know who the "Wyrd Sisters" are we can move on and ignore them even more as they disappoint more than their share of folk music fans in the US, well, if they had any at all. Some one get the stage hook and pull them away from the center stage, if you got your tomatos toss'em hard.
If the movie is banned in Canada I am sure the fans of Harry Potter will cross the border to see it in the state side. Canadians are awsome, "Wyrd Sisters" take a hike! :D
Posted by: Anonymous on October 26, 2005
$5g to share a name WEIRD! Hello. Weird...It's a WORD. "You have a weird coat, or a weird hairdoo" Its not like they made this name up, or is some personal invention.HUMM..like Rowes Harry Potter. It's a word.
Plus..They said they are never identifyed by name, Rowe coming to Canada to show the film to prove it. Get real folks. Wyrd sisters...get over it. I have NEVER even heard of the Wyrd Sisters anyways.. Is there not somthing more important you could do than sue due to a name that has 100000 uses???
Ohh gosh Debbie, grand for you. lol I am a Rowe fan and a Potter fan and feel what she has done with her books is far more impressive, no offence but this makes me mad.
Posted by: Anonymous on October 27, 2005
try doing a simple google search in the images category under the name "Wyrd Sisters". Maybe ALL if these hits should sue for the big money. haha. what an amusing thought! This is so PETTY! As if this is more important than solving the global problems we are facing. wow, shouldn't we be focussing our energies on better causes? ok, so people reading this, keep your insignificant opinions. i guess i'll be the one saving the world.
Posted by: Anonymous on October 28, 2005
I agree with the majority here - the Harry Potter trilogy is the most original ever created. I had never even heard of The "Wyrd" Sisters before until I read about their attempt at suing Warner Brothers for $40 million dollars, just for sheer coincidence?

Also, Kim Baryluk assuming that people would confused their band to a fictional one in the upcoming Harry Potter film is a gross error on her part. Remember what they say about one who assumes? Even more disgusting is that this is a barely known artist who has the gall to launch a lawsuit of this nature for such a bloated sum of money is one of the worst examples of greed I have seen in a very long time.

Considering there are millions women and children dying of AIDS in Africa - they need $40 million dollars more than you do Kim. I think you need to re-think your priorities.

Posted by: Anonymous on November 05, 2005
I am married to one of the members of the American musical group Three Weird Sisters, and I am also the group's lawyer. We were contacted by WB regarding use of OUR name for the movie as well. The attorney for WB was very polite and professional, and we were in negotiations when the (Canadian) Wyrd Sisters filed suit. WB then pulled the plug on the negotiations, and simply deleted the name of the band from the movie, deciding that it just wasn't worth the time or money to fight about it. The Wyrd sisters's suit cost us the opportunity to make some money from something that would have had NO effect on our fan base, CD sales, or our work, except in a positive manner. To top it off, we are now receiving testy emails from Harry Potter fans mistaking Three Weird Sisters (US) with The Wyrd Sisters (Canada). What a headache, and all so unnecessary.
Posted by: GeorgePowell on November 14, 2005
i believe that the wyrd sisters should get more money then $50,000 because there is more and more people who steal names fom others and make million's off somones name and don't even bother telling them about it. i've lived with kim she is a person who really cares about children in which i believe that she doesn't care about the money.
Posted by: Anonymous on June 03, 2006
This comment is many years too late... but....
I agree with earlier mention that without Nancy, and Leanne really, there is no Wyrd Sisters. Kim should have started a new band, not ride the coat tails of the name. They are not at all the same Vibe and Feel but attempt at a similar sound. It is a free country and people can do what they want, but at least half of the heart of the Wyrd Sisters was Nancy and without her, it is just wrong and dysfunctional feeling. I miss her music and her lyrics. Inside the Dreaming is the best album, and Nancy just swoops you into a deep and emotionally touching place. Nancy, you are a beautiful spirit.
Posted by: Anonymous on August 21, 2009
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