On 23 September 2011, Simco (a company owned in large part by Simon Cowell) lodged an application in Europe to trademark the name "Rhythmix" for use by the programme X Factor. At the time of lodging that application, X Factor and Simco were fully aware that "Rhythmix" was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people. Rather than seeking any discussion with the Charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the Charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have any negative impact on the activities of the Charity, Simco and their legal representatives sought a way to use the law to circumvent the trademark of the Charity.
The two questions for X Factor, ITV, Syco, Simco, Freemantle and Talkback Thames are simple:
- You knew it was a music charity working with very vulnerable young people, so why did you try to take the name, aggressively seeking to limit the use of the name by the Charity by lodging applications to grant you the exclusive right to record, create promotional items and even use the word in printed media?
- If you thought it wasn't going to be a problem, now you know it is. Professional people who work in this field are telling you it is. The media are telling you it is. The public are telling you it is. Why have you so far failed to make a public statement clearly laying out your reasons why you need to keep the name.... or why do you not simply change the name?
On the 14th October, Simco and the other parties connected to the show claimed to be having an urgent meeting to deal with this and that they would come back to the Charity on or about 17th October. This morning (24th October), the Charity have received another holding letter from legal representatives for the programme, claiming to need further time to consider their position.
Rhythmix the music charity feel that it is a reasonable supposition that instead of dealing with this promptly and reasonably the various parties connected to the programme are intent on delaying discussions about this matter until either a) the group are removed from the show by the audience or b) Simco's claim to the trademark is granted whilst the parties are supposedly discussing what to do about it. Unfortunately, this tactic by Simco means that the Charity has no option other than to pursue the legal means available to it to object to their trademark application, at a financially unjustifiable cost that Simco are fully aware of but refuse to act to mitigate.
There has been some suggestion across social media that the Charity should regard this situation as a publicity opportunity, with some fans of the programme stating that the charity should be grateful for the publicity being given to it by X Factor. Without going into the inappropriateness of the publicity offered by a connection to X Factor for a music charity that works with very vulnerable young people we would draw everybody’s attention to the fact that X Factor and Simco have not actually offered one single publicity opportunity at all to the charity and that all the publicity and good will that has been generated to date has been created by independent people through the press, media, social media and public support. Awareness and publicity for this issue is being spread because the public think it's wrong. The matter was raised on the ITV programme Xtra Factor on 23 October by the band Rizzle Kicks, and was immediately covered up by the presenters and floor managers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMnxFavfMFE
The Nirvana for Xmas no 1 campaign (http://www.facebook.com/nirvanaforno1) was created in response to Simco's actions. It is fast approaching 60,000 likes. The Rhythmix Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RhythmixMusicCharity) page has soared to over 2k likes. A private group of social media gurus and online activists (Raging for Rhythmix - http://www.facebook.com/groups/150197561745614/) is in direct contact with the charity and helping Rhythmix on a number of fronts.
If you want to support Rhythmix, and you haven’t already done so please
- Share this statement
- Go to our facebook and like us - http://www.facebook.com/RhythmixMusicCharity
- Follow us on Twitter - http://twitter.com/RhythmixMusic and get tweeting - anything that includes our @RhythmixMusic #Rhythmix #xfactor #changethename
- Please donate some money to help us fight this - any money not used in the legal battle will be used to do what we do everyday - help vulnerable young people make music - http://fb.me/100C1MbNq
- Join Raging for Rhythmix and help the Charity protect it's identity:http://www.facebook.com/groups/150197561745614/
The Charity wants to put it on record that we wish Jesy, Perrie, Leigh Ann and Jade the very best of luck and hope they do well under a new name. Could we please ask fans of the four and supporters of any pro-charity campaign to respect the fact that Rhythmix is a charity that works almost exclusively with children and young people when making comments.