Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Live by the lawyers, die by the lawyers
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.