'This American Life' Warns Podcast 'This American Whore' In Trademark Battle
February 11, 2013 at 6:55 AM (PT)
CHICAGO PUBLIC MEDIA has sent a request to a podcaster asking her to change the name of her podcast from "THIS AMERICAN WHORE" or face a trademark infringement action due to its similarity to "THIS AMERICAN LIFE."
The SF WEEKLY reports that sex worker and activist SIOUXSIE Q says she was contacted by e-mail from CHICAGO PUBLIC MEDIA Dir./Operations SETH LIND and then by letter from attorneys representing CPM and "THIS AMERICAN LIFE" host IRA GLASS "concerned about dilution of their trademark or people confusing THIS AMERICAN WHORE and THIS AMERICAN LIFE, thinking that THIS AMERICAN LIFE is somehow sponsoring my podcast, or something like that, and so in order to protect their trademark, they've requested me to change the name and to cease and desist." Q said that with support from listeners, she will fight to keep her show's name.
GLASS told the POYNTER INSTITUTE that Q's show is not being singled out, saying, "I’ve listened to THIS AMERICAN WHORE. I find them charming. It’s an interesting podcast and a window into a world that’s very different from my daily life, for sure. I’m glad they’re out there making these and hope they continue. But the way trademark law works is that we or any business with a trademarked name has to protect that name. If you don’t take action when you hear about people knocking off your name, and get them to stop, you can lose your trademark rights. Whenever we find out about any podcasts with names similar to ours, our lawyers review what action would be appropriate. Some names and shows are parodies, which are a protected class under the law. Some have audiences that are so negligible that they pose no trademark threat."
Responding to questions about the case by TIME OUT CHICAGO's ROBERT FEDER, a spokesperson for CHICAGO PUBLIC MEDIA said, "Since this is now a legal matter, [we're] not making any media statements."