Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Live by the lawyers, die by the lawyers

This blog has followed the weird efforts of Fremantle's lawyers to shut down the What's My Line channel on YouTube.

The legal war looks to be a misguided effort to help Fremantle's fledgling Buzzr game show diginet. Of course, the WML YouTube channel and other game show videos on the site only create interest in Buzzr's old shows. But this obvious fact seems to escape some of the great minds at Fremantle.

So it's with a sense of poetic justice that I write about Fremantle itself getting sued...over Buzzr. A New York Internet media company created a site called Buzzr.com in 2009, and they are now alleging trademark infringement over Fremantle's use of the name. The lawsuit really gets funny - at least to me - when it mentions the "sex, obscenity and crude sensibility" of some of Fremantle's own YouTube offerings under the Buzzr brand. Like the online version of Password in the screenshot.

As a matter of fact, I kind of like the Buzzr remakes of old game shows on YouTube. Anyway, I'm not a trademark lawyer and I don't play one on this blog. So I can't comment on the merits (if any) of the lawsuit. But if it helps to keep Fremantle's lawyers too busy to persecute the WML YouTube channel, I'm grateful.

UPDATE: I'm still not a lawyer, but I can read law articles on the web. This legal site gives a good overview of trademark law. Just from reading the material, it looks like Buzzr.com might have a halfway decent case. The trademark is quite unusual - "buzzr" is hardly a common contraction - and there is some chance of confusion, especially with Fremantle's Buzzr online videos. Sooner or later Fremantle might have to pay out a few bucks, but the legal process will drag on forever, as always.

3 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, Gary better watch out. WML on Buzzr is now fresh (they're showing November 1955 episodes this week, look at the schedule)), so Fremantle could resume causing havoc to his channel

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  2. Casey, you're getting quite the following over at WML's Facebook page. LOL

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  3. This is nothing but bad news for Fremantle, and no one deserves bad news more. What they've done here is to knowingly outright STEAL the legally trademarked name of another company, and then manage to get that company's YouTube channel shut down for using the name that Fremantle illegally stole from them. While this is disgusting, immoral, illegal behavior, unlike when they've done this sort of thing to little independent guys like me, they're being *sued*, and they are NOT going to win any battle over the name "Buzzr" with Codename Enterprises in court. What they've done here is so clearly against the law, they're going to either have to forfeit the name "Buzzr" (a disaster a year after launching the channel), or they're going to buy the plantiffs off (which is money they're not going to want to spend, given the low rent way they've been running their channel so far.) This could spell the end of the channel entirely if Codename Enterprises doesn't accept a pittance of a settlement. They have a fantastic case here. Fremantle has shown itself in this story to be every bit as evil as any of the worst offenders of any media conglomerates out there, including Disney.

    Thank you again for your continuing coverage of their illicit tactics, Casey.

    (I hope this doesn't double post-- my first attempt appears not to have posted)

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