The University College Dublin Commerce & Economics Society now lists the Berghain-inspired party as “Berlin Night.”
Whether or not you like techno, chances are you’re familiar with Berghain‘s reputation as a kink-friendly club where anything goes. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t include using the club’s exact name, logo, and likeness to promote an outside event.
Students belonging to University College Dublin‘s Commerce & Economics (C&E) Society found this out the hard way. In partnership with the UCD DJ Collective and 26 other university groups, they had organized a January 31 event at The Grand Social called Berghain Night. Graphics used to promote the event use its logo as well as depicting the Berlin club’s iconic facade and seldom-photographed interior. One image even includes a long line of hopeful entrants.
It doesn’t appear to be the first such event, either. “We are back with our annual Berlin Techno Club Night, after the sold-out success of last year’s one,” reads Eventbrite page. “Inspired by infamous Berlin clubs like Bergheinn [sic] and KitKat. It was one of the craziest nights we have ever seen.”
A photo circulating on social media appears to show a message from the Berghain Instagram page demanding that the organizers change the name and likeness. “Hello UCD DJ Collective. We hereby request that you remove the copyrighted name Berghain, Berghain logo, photographs of the facade and interior of Berghain, and to remove them from any publication,” it reads.
The message continues: “We give you a deadline for this until 11 January 2024, 16:00. If you do not comply with this request, we will take legal action.”
UCD DJ Collective and the C&E Society confirmed the authenticity of the message in an Instagram post announcing that they were changing the name of the gathering. “Same event, new name,” it reads. “Yes… the real Berghain actually texted us to change the name of the event. The UCD C&E society and the DJ collective present: The UCD Berlin Night. It’s all the same experience and same event details! Just a small name change. See you all on the dancefloor.”
The name has indeed been changed to Berlin Night on the Eventbrite page. At the time of writing, it still appears as Berghain Night on Google’s search engine results page, and it is still listed that way on Stay Happening, XRaves, and Happening Next.
Based on the apparent success of their events, it sounds like the UCD C&E Society and DJ Collective learned an important lesson about the value of branding — and the potential repercussions for taking shortcuts instead of building your own.