RPT-Russia's Pussy Riot spurn chance to cash in on fame

(Repeats with no change to text)

* Trial shot Pussy Riot to international fame

* Band say they do not want to cash in on name

* Expert says band could make $3 million in 2 years

MOSCOW, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Two members of the Russian

feminist punk protest band Pussy Riot are sitting in jail for

protesting in a church against Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, for $19.95, plus shipping, fans of the U.S.

singer Madonna can order a 100 percent cotton "Pussy Riot"

T-shirt, featuring the band's logo of a woman in a red mini

dress and ski mask, with a raised fist and an electric guitar.

First came the battle for freedom, now comes the battle for

merchandise. Three months after the end of a trial that shot

them to world fame, band members say they are fighting to stop

anyone cashing on its multi-million-dollar brand.

Experts say the Pussy Riot name is worth a fortune. If they

were interested, the band's members could get rich from tours,

films, documentaries and recording contracts.

But it is anathema to the women who, dressed in garish

masks, dresses and mismatched tights, burst into a Russian

Orthodox cathedral last February and performed a "punk prayer"

calling for the Virgin Mary to chase away Putin.

"We will never allow the brand to be registered," said

Yekaterina Samutsevich, the only one of three jailed band

members so far to go free, who announced on her release that she

will represent the interests of the two still in prison.

"We've always said our band would never be commercial. To an

extent it was created to fight commercialism."

MATERIAL HELP FROM THE MATERIAL GIRL

Samutsevich, 30, was convicted in August of hooliganism

motivated by religious hatred, along with Nadezhda

Tolokonnikova, 23, and Maria Alyokhina, 24.

Samutsevich's sentence was suspended and she was freed on

appeal; Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have started two-year jail

terms. Amnesty International calls them prisoners of conscience.

The band is now so well known in the West that a character

wore a T-shirt saying "Free Pussy Riot" in a recent episode of

South Park, an American animated sitcom.

"Over the next two years the brand could feasibly generate

over $3 million in gross revenue, with a net income of around

$2-2.5 million," estimated Kevin Drost, engagement manager for

marketing consultancy Prophet Brand Strategy. He cited potential

revenue from touring, merchandise, digital sales, publishing,

speaking fees, and film and book rights.

For outsiders, including Western celebrities who have

adopted the jailed women's cause, selling merchandise with the

Pussy Riot logo is a way to raise money to help them.

Madonna has been one of their most vocal backers. She

infuriated the Russian authorities by speaking out on behalf of

the band at a concert in Moscow, performing with "Pussy Riot"

written on her back in ink, and wearing one of the band's

trademark ski masks. A Putin aide showed the Kremlin's disdain,

calling her a "whore" on twitter.

The U.S. singer now offers Pussy Riot T-shirts for sale on

her web site and at her concerts. She says she is sending the

money she raises to help pay for the band's legal defence.

Samutsevich said she hadn't seen a penny and knew nothing of

the details of the arrangement.

"Nobody agreed with me, Nadia or Masha," Samutsevich said,

using affectionate names for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina. "The

only thing I can say is we will never sell T-shirts with our

images on them. It's not us that's doing it."

She was trying to find out where proceeds from Madonna's

sales were going, she said, adding that she would not be against

it, as long as the cash is used to help "anyone who suffered

from repressions as a result of their creative activity".

Madonna's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, said the singer's

staff had been "in direct contact with the jailed and free

members of Pussy Riot" and insisted that Madonna had permission

to sell the merchandise.

"I believe there is a dispute currently going on with

different legal representatives which may account for some

confusion," she said. "One hundred percent of the authorised

merchandise on Pussy Riot that Madonna sells at her shows goes

toward their legal fees and goes to wherever the members have

asked it be sent to."

Icelandic singer Bjork also contacted Pussy Riot to discuss

selling T-shirts to help raise money for legal fees, said her

manager, Derek Birkett. Those discussions are on hold because

band members "are now having second thoughts about the

commercialisation of the name and the idea", Birkett said.

REGISTRATION

Pussy Riot has always been more about protest than music.

The band has never made any official recordings and does not

have a recording contract.

Because its brand name isn't registered as a trademark,

members have no control over who uses it. The band doesn't even

have an official line-up: it says anyone can join. At any given

moment it has 10-20 members.

"The brand is not registered, which means anyone can use the

name. It has no copyright either, because it's not a product,

not a song. And the name is so famous, it can really be used by

anyone," said Taras Dzerkach, partner at German law firm Beiten

Burkhardt.

While the band members were in jail, Tolokonnikova's lawyer,

Mark Feigin, tried to register the Pussy Riot brand name with

Russia's authorities as the property of a film company owned by

his wife.

Tolokonnikova issued a statement denouncing the move from

the prison colony where she is serving her sentence in Mordovia,

400 km (250 miles) southeast of Moscow.

"Stop the brand showdown! Stop the registration of the

brand! Stop the madness," she said.

"I'm deeply disgusted by the financial and branding

discussion. Money is dust. If someone needs it - take it... I

need freedom, but not for me - for Russia."

Samutsevich told Reuters she was outraged when she found out

what Feigin was up to.

"We only discussed copyright protection, but I did not know

about brand registering. I trusted him (Feigin) completely...

Now, I understand it was my mistake," said Samutsevich.

Feigin withdrew from Tolokonnikova's defence on Monday,

saying the lawyers had become "irritants to the authorities"

which was beginning to harm the women in jail.

In a blog post he defended his attempt to register the name

Pussy Riot, saying he had done so solely to protect the

interests of band members and had used his wife's company

because there was no other company available.

Russia's intellectual property register Rospatent refused

his application to register the brand anyway, giving no reason.

Meanwhile, Pussy Riot T-shirts are widely available in

Russia from street sellers. You can buy them at shops in

London's Camden Market or New York's Greenwich Village.

A variety of sellers are offering Pussy Riot shirts on

websites like Amazon.com, some citing links to charities that

say they are collecting money to help the band.

Artyom Loskutov, an artist from the city of Novosibirsk who

sells Pussy Riot T-shirts online, said he had sent about 40,000

roubles ($1,300) in donations to the band, after selling about

400 shirts for a "minimum donation" of 800 roubles ($25) each.

He said he had been hounded by police, who charged him with

offending Orthodox Russian Christians because of the shirts,

which he now sells on the internet from a foreign-based site.

Regardless of where the cash goes, those who buy and wear

the shirts are helping the band by showing support, he said.

"It's not just about money. When people wear them, they show

their solidarity with these arrested women," he said. "People

who go to protests and hold placards also go to work or to the

cinema in these shirts and show their support this way."

($1 = 31.4452 Russian roubles)

(Additional reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Sonia Elks and

Mike Collett-White; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Peter Graff)