48 Hours (TV Show) Gets Upset At 48 HR (Magazine)

from the hipsters-vs.-old-people dept

I have to admit that I followed the entire 48 HR Magazine event last weekend with lots of interest, just from a "fun/funky idea for publishing a magazine" standpoint -- and not once did I think about the CBS TV magazine show 48 Hours. The 48 HR magazine was an idea put together by some of San Francisco's usual crew of creative hipsters, with a plan to create an entire (physical) magazine in, yes, 48 hours. They announced a topic (for the first issue, it was "hustle"), and people submitted a ton of stuff in the first 24 hours, which was reviewed, edited, etc. Then in the next 24 hours, the magazine itself was put together. Kind of a neat experiment. It wasn't a company or a business. Just an experiment.

It turns out that the folks involved in the (physical) magazine weren't even aware that the TV show was still on TV (I didn't realize that either)... but CBS's lawyers decided it was time to step in and fill in the details in the form of a legal nastygram. The two are targeted at entirely different people, but this is one case where (even if I never made the connection myself), I can actually see CBS's reasoning. There is a clear overlap and there certainly could be a likelihood of confusion. Chances are, when the next issue comes out, it's going to have a different name.

But, the whole thing does speak to the difficulty of just doing a fun experiment these days without involving lawyers. It's not so easy:
"To be honest, none of us even knew that there was still a program called '48 Hours,' so it never crossed our mind," said Mr. Honan. "When we were finished, we all felt like we had accomplished something significant, that there was a magazine there. It is the thingness of it, the physical evidence of the weekend that is so great. But the unfortunate truth I guess is that unlike what we said in the editor's letter, you can't do anything really large scale in contemporary society without have a legal team and a corporation."
Also, to be fair, despite the initial letter being full of legalese and sounding threatening, CBS's lawyers seem at least willing to talk:
"We are missing a gigantic step here," he said. "They need to respond to our letter, which they have not done, about what they can do and are willing to do. We would like to work something out, but they'd have to be in touch for that to happen. Then we can begin talking and negotiating."
Hopefully something reasonable does get worked out, and perhaps 48 HR's (or whatever it's going to be called) next issue can be on something like the "likelihood of confusion."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    davebarnes (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 4:37pm

    49 Hours

    silly CBS

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 4:56pm

    Eddie Murphy to get C&D next.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 5:20pm

    Re:

    That's Reggie Hammond damnbit!
    \

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Squidly Man, May 19th, 2010 @ 5:21pm

    A new name...

    They should call it "TwoDay" or "Today in Two Days" or something like that.

     

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  5.  
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    Squidly Man, May 19th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    Re: A new name...

    Oh...wait, isn't there another magazine called "Today"? Doh!

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    "There is a clear overlap and there certainly could be a likelihood of confusion"

    You honestly think people would confuse a hipster magazine for mystery show (or is it CBS' news show also named 48 hours?!)?

    And as someone else pointed out, what about the movie 48 hours. Does CBS infringe on that trademark? Clearly if you can confuse a magazine with television show, you could easily confuse a television show with a feature film, right?

    What if a business, which was closed for two days, put a sign on their door, closed for 48 hours. Could CBS sue the store too?

    What happened to the real mike? What did you do to him?!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 5:31pm

    well, it could be said that a news magazine could be confused as being an outlet or part of the tv news magazine show. it would be much harder to suggest it would be confused with an eddie murphy movie. i can see where cbs stands on this one.

     

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  8.  
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    btrussell (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Re:

    "And as someone else pointed out, what about the movie 48 hours."

    The first time I heard the title of the TV show I was excited to see a spin-off from the movie. Loved the movie.

    At the rate they are making movies, we will soon all have to be mutes.

    "24" get me three, it's a long week-end.

     

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  9.  
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    Beta, May 19th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Are you going to cooperate?

    "We are missing a gigantic step here," he said. "They need to respond to our letter, which they have not done, about what they can do and are willing to do. We would like to work something out, but they'd have to be in touch for that to happen. Then we can begin talking and negotiating."

    Does this set off anyone else's bully detector?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    Re:

    On the side of the lawyers? No! Say it isn't so?

     

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  11.  
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    Pixelation, May 19th, 2010 @ 6:46pm

    I vote for "2880 Minutes".

    They should change the name because 48 hours the show sucks and why associate yourself.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    Re:

    You honestly think people would confuse a hipster magazine for mystery show (or is it CBS' news show also named 48 hours?!)?

    It's a "news magazine show." So, yes, they're both "magazines" and they're both "news." I can see where there could be some confusion.

    And as someone else pointed out, what about the movie 48 hours

    That's not a magazine or about the news.

    What happened to the real mike? What did you do to him?!


    Come now. That's not fair.

     

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  13.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 4:01am

    Re: Re:

    So all this time I've been watching TV news, I've actually been reading magazines?! You seriously think there's not difference between a news show you watch and listen to and a magazine you pick up and read?

    "That's not a magazine or about the news."

    What about CBS's mystery show called 48 hours. The film involved a mystery. Thus, CBS should be sued, right?

     

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  14.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 4:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I just came up with a great solution. If CBS can create a magazine out of a TV show merely by calling it a magazine, then 48 HR magazine should turn themselves into a food product merely by referring to itself as a condiment. I'd pick mustard, by ketchup is more popular.

    There would certainly be no confusion between a pretend magazine and a pretend bottle of ketchup, right?

     

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  15.  
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    Michael, May 20th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think that may create confusion with 'Heinz 57'. I believe they have some kind of monopoly on associating a number with a condiment.

     

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  16.  
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    abc gum, May 20th, 2010 @ 6:03am

    trademark a number

    fta -> "Well, yes and no. On May 11, Lauren Marcello, the assistant general counsel at CBS sent a cease and desist letter, noting that “CBS is the owner of the rights in the award-winning news magazine televison series, ‘48 Hours,’ and its companion series, including ‘48 Hours Mystery,’” adding later in the letter, “your use is unlawful and constitutes trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition …” along with a lot of other complicated, vaguely threatening legalese."

    Just wth is an "award-winning news magazine televison series"?

    Trademark a number? ... Seems this is a strange area. Intel was told no (586) but Boing yes (737, 747, etc). What is the difference here?

     

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  17.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So all this time I've been watching TV news, I've actually been reading magazines?! You seriously think there's not difference between a news show you watch and listen to and a magazine you pick up and read?

    Ima, perhaps you're not familiar with the term, but there is a concept known as TV magazine shows. 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Dateline, 20/20. Those are all considered "TV magazines." That's because rather than the evening news (today's news) they're mostly feature length pieces, like you find in magazines.

     

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  18.  
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    Grey Ferret, May 20th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Descriptive Term?

    Isn't "48 Hours" just a descriptive term? A fact, if you will? That shouldn't be trademarked.

    And for the record, I too thought the CBS show was somehow related to the Eddie Murphy movie. If anything, CBS is causing the confusion here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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