Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

X Factor row charity calls for cash

Little Mix, the girl band formerly known as Rhythmix

A charity is asking X Factor viewers to vote for it and not the singers in an attempt to recoup legal fees it claims it was forced to pay in a trademark dispute with the Simon Cowell-owned show.

Brighton-based music charity Rhythmix alleges it incurred an £8,000 legal bill because it was forced to defend its trademark when a girl group - now called Little Mix - tried to register the name.

It wants the public to boycott voting for the acts when the show is aired on ITV1 and instead text the charity so it can get the cash back in a Twitter campaign called #CowellMustPay.

Chief executive of the charity Mark Davyd said it had been forced into defending the name because otherwise the charity would not have been able to trade, even though Rhythmix was trademarked by it in 2006.

The complicated trademark law permits different types of trademarks for different activities and the production company of the show Syco Entertainment, which is part-owned by Mr Cowell, tried to register in many areas that encroached on the activities of Rhythmix, Mr Davyd claimed.

He said: "We have been forced into defending our trademark because Syco just would not listen to us.

"No-one from the show has been able to explain why they felt this was an appropriate thing to do to a charity. We are saying they forced a charity that for 12 years has quietly worked with vulnerable children to spend this money.

"We had a board meeting where we discussed the options and found that changing our name would have cost £20,000 and defending our trademark would cost £8,000-12,000. The money might not seem a lot, but £8,000 is 120 hours of work with a vulnerable person and it's just three seconds of advertising revenue for the show.

"It appears that Syco simply does not care and it's just arrogance. Maybe the lawyers thought a charity cannot afford to pursue Syco through the courts and it just wanted to wait for the its money to run out."

Syco said earlier this week it had withdrawn the application even though it had not been asked to do so by the charity and it now considered the matter closed. Supporters of Rhythmix can text RTMX11 £1 to 70070 and donate £1.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

Read the fine print on a contract. If you're not happy with the proposed terms of a deal, renegotiate. Don't be afraid to drive a hard bargain. You may not realise it, but you have a great deal of power. People are willing to pay good money for someone with your intelligence and experience. If you undersell yourself, you will set a dangerous precedent. Someone will ask you to do something that goes against your conscience. Obey your principles, even if it means making an enemy.More