Vice Media received a lot of unfavorable attention this week after demanding that a band in LA stop calling itself “ViceVersa.” Vice Media apparently requested a complete accounting in writing of all gross revenue and net profits.
Vice Media filed in March to Oppose the ViceVersa band trademark at the USPTO (proceeding number 91226792). Then this month their counsel sent an apparently strongly worded cease and desist letter to the band.
The situation has now spawned:
- a band GoFundMe page for legal expenses
- a band YouTube video on the situation with thousands of views
- a HuffingtonPost article that has been shared thousands of times on social media
Vice Media created its own mess here. I’m not sure their claims are very strong. And their tactics may have backfired. The band is now far better known than it was 48 hours ago.
Thus, we have a classic example of the Streisand Effect. I have been speaking and writing on this phenomenon as it relates to trademark matters for many years. As I wrote in 2012:
I guess counsel for Vice Media didn’t read that blog post?
By the way — don’t VICE and VICE-VERSA have very different meanings?!?!?!
For more on the situation, see article in OC Weekly.