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.”
Filed Under: 48 hours, trademark