“Media industry awash in cease-and-desist letters”

by Walter Olson on June 1, 2011

“Spin magazine slapped Eric Rice, a Portland, Oregon Twitter user, with a cease-and-desist over his ‘@Spin‘ Twitter handle…. Spin, however, may just be following the precedent set by other magazines. Entrepreneur, for one, is notorious for bullying small businesses that use the word ‘entrepreneur,’ a term that the magazine claims to own.” [Dylan Stableford, Yahoo Cutline]

{ 1 comment }

1 Bernard Brandt 06.08.11 at 12:02 am

I recall a couple of years back a friend of mine who was printing shirts, etc. from Cafe Press which included various slogans. One of those was “Yale – Harvard – Electoral College – It’s amazing what you can skate through on family ties.”

Not surprisingly, he got a cease and desist letter from counsel for Harvard, together with an attempt by the latter to tell Cafe Press to stop printing such shirts.

With an hour or so of internet research, I managed to find him some interesting legal articles about the “nominative use” exception to trademark law, and the “parody” exception as regards copyright infringement. He made use of those bits of information in drafting a rather eloquent response letter to counsel for Harvard, together with an offer to copy all correspondence to the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, and a few other newspapers of similarly small account.

And not surprisingly, counsel for Harvard quickly dropped their demands.

I offer the above as a suggestion for similar action for those who need to take it.

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