Details of DialIdol’s Odd Cease and Desist Letter has just posted the cease and desist letter they received from Fremantle Media, and I have to say, it’s pretty weird. My first thought is that it’s one of those letters that was sent out to the wrong site by mistake, since their complaints are completely wrong for DialIdol:

[] allows people to download clips of episodes of American Idol without the permission of the producer, and uses the American Idol logo and music.

Eh? Where did they get that from? My original guesses about their complaint was that they might have thought that his site’s logo was too similar to American Idol’s logo. But no, they say he uses their exact logo, along with their music and provides clips of episodes to download? Unless those were well-hidden on the site (and I’m pretty sure I saw everything on there), it sounds like the lawyers got a little mixed up.

Then there’s the next part:

Your unauthorized use of the names and likenesses of American Idol contestants, hosts and judges, and the copying and transmission of the episodes and music from American Idol constitutes a violation of the Copyright Act. Such violation of the Copyright Act may render you subject to injunctive relief, and liable for actual or statutory damages, the recovery of all profits and an award of attorney’s fees and costs incurred in protecting its copyrights.

This is getting into that weird area that the Bill Cosby vs. House of Cosbys one did. According to this, nobody is allowed to use the names of the contestants, host, or judges, without Fremantle Media and/or Fox’s permission? Ok. Better close down all those Internet discussion forums where people talk about the show, because they certainly didn’t get permission to mention the contestants names before talking about how they did. Are you sure that the fans in the audience who made signs got permission to put the contestant’s name on the sign beforehand? How can they even try to claim this?

In addition, your use of our music and logo without our permission dilutes the value of our business, causes confusion among the general public, and causes severe injury to the producer of American Idol.

Right. The American Idol music and logo being used on (which it never was, as far as I know) causes severe injury? I can see there being severe injury if the producer wanted to fudge the results to let their favorite win, and publishing the busy percentages could interfere with that, but since the only thing I saw that looked remotely infringing was a derivative logo, it’s hard to see how that’s going to cause severe injury.

Ok, it’s true that DialIdol’s background image is a little weird. Maybe nausea-inducing. Maybe an American Idol producer could have gotten a little dizzy looking at that and fell out of his chair, hit his head, and gotten a severe injury that way. But what they wrote? Doesn’t make much sense.

I’m not a lawyer, of course, but come on. If a company had any right to say that people weren’t allowed to use people’s names without their permission, they’d have done that long ago to silence all of their critics. But they haven’t, because they can’t, because it would be a basic violation of free speech rights. And since all the people involved here are celebrities, there’s even less of an expectation of privacy, right?

Any lawyers in the house, feel free to correct any of my misconceptions about free speech and law things. Anyone who wants to pretend to be a lawyer, well, you guys can do that also. Ok, it’s a free-for-all on my lack of lawish knowledge. And… go!

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