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Why the Mormon Tabernacle Choir name won’t disappear completely. Think pirates

SHARE Why the Mormon Tabernacle Choir name won’t disappear completely. Think pirates

SALT LAKE CITY — The iconic Mormon Tabernacle Choir name won't disappear completely with Friday’s announcement that the performing group will now be known as The Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square.

The reason?

Music piracy.

Choir president Ron Jarrett told the Deseret News that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir name will continue to appear in certain longtime licensing agreements, and the reason is to preserve ownership of it.

Basically, it's an issue of use it or lose it.

"We need to maintain (property rights to the name)," Jarrett said. "We don't want someone to pick it up because we're not using it. We have a lot of older pieces in our history that are under that (name), so we have to maintain that. We have to keep that so that no one else can pirate it or take it away from us. So we'll renew licenses and keep all that, but we won't use that term any longer."

If the choir didn't have some way to continue to use the name Mormon Tabernacle Choir and it went dormant in the marketplace, another person or group eventually could legally take it for themselves.

The problem is that maintaining those licensing agreements might make it appear to some as though the choir is going back to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir name again in the future when a licensee re-releases songs.

But it will only be a healthy way to retain the intellectual property of the name and brand.

"For example," Jarrett said, "Sony is a recording partner from years ago. They have a number of old recordings that they still own as our recording partner. So from time to time they re-release them and they are available on the market under the name 'Mormon Tabernacle Choir.' We will continue to license those to Sony to use under that name. That protects that name from somebody else picking it up."