Rhythmix and the X Factor: Part 2
Well, here we are again.
To summarise; on 23 September 2011 Simco (a company largely owned by you) tried to take control of the identity Rhythmix for use by some contestants on The X Factor UK using trademark methods available to them in Europe. Simco and X Factor did this in the full knowledge that "Rhythmix" was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people. The use of the name was announced on the X Factor on 1 October, and the Charity wrote to Simco, Talkback Thames, ITV, Syco, X Factor and their legal representatives repeatedly in the subsequent three weeks asking for the name to be changed or for Simco to stop seeking to control the identity. On 26 October at 9am we wrote publicly to you personally asking that all the people involved in the programme stop pretending that the Charity was causing a fuss about nothing and simply change the name. At 5.43pm that day the name of the girl band was changed.
Many people reading this new open letter will immediately be thinking "well, what does this Charity want now? They've changed the name". Unfortunately, whilst your company Simco and your programme The X Factor have managed to stage a PR event publicly changing the name of your contestants, actually the legal position hasn't changed at all, and neither has the outcome for the Charity.
Firstly, despite writing repeatedly to your legal representatives for two weeks asking that the public announcement of the name change be replicated by the actual action required (withdrawing the trademark application) as of 8 November Simco are still seeking to exclusively trademark the name Rhythmix - a copy of your application can be viewed online here: http://esearch.oami.europa.eu/copla/trademark/data/010288843
There can be only two reason for this. 1) Simco intend to change the name of the band back at some future date or 2) Simco and/or its legal representatives want to use their control of the identity to force the charity to accept terms and conditions before permitting the Charity to continue to trade.
Secondly, Simco and your legal representatives are choosing not to respond to any of the formal letters sent to them. This is despite the legal problems between your company and the Charity being caused entirely by the actions of Simco, despite the thousands of pounds in legal fees that are the responsibility of Simco, and despite the failure to conclude the matter properly. Why won't they respond? Because the legal advice is that the Charity cannot afford to pursue Simco through the courts, so the best way to "win" this matter is to not deal with it and wait for the Charity's money to run out.
Bluntly, that legal advice is correct. This Charity isn't prepared to spend thousands of pounds forcing Simco to "do the right thing". We won't be sending you any more legal letters. We won't be asking Simco any more times not to take our identity. We won't write any more letters to you or to Simco asking that you or they cover the unjustified legal costs they have forced upon the Charity.
Whether you eventually complete your trademark application or not, the Charity intends to continue to stage Rhythmix concerts, make Rhythmix recordings, and print the word Rhythmix on paper and t-shirts. We won't ask your permission, and if you or your company seek to prevent the Charity in engaging in its normal activities we will simply notify the public of your actions and let them decide what should be done.
The legal costs are £8,000. This is equivalent to 120 hours of music making and social interaction for vulnerable young people that benefit from the Charity's work. It is , coincidentally, equivalent to roughly three seconds of advertising time during the X Factor. Since Simco don't apparently feel that their actions are their responsibility, we therefore invite any of your main corporate advertisers to consider cutting their advertising with X Factor by a full 3 seconds and donate that money to cover the legal costs Simco generated. Donations can be made here: http://www.justgiving.com/RagingForRhythmix
The actions taken and the attitude displayed by Simco throughout this matter demonstrate a level of arrogance and lack of responsibility that we believe should concern you as the public face of the company. You can choose to take an interest in this matter or you can choose not to. Whatever you choose to do, the aim of this letter is to ensure that both you and the public are fully aware of the actions of your company.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011