Recently on Twitter I gave an artist some advice about character copyright (no advice given by me should be construed as legal advice.) My best advice - get a lawyer. If you’re involved in any legal issues whatsoever, your best first step is to meet with a lawyer.
The Coveted, a blog run by Jennine Jacob, who is also responsible for Independent Fashion Bloggers, has had its identity compromised by another site, also calling itself The Coveted. When this matter was brought to the owners’ attention, they contacted lawyers to write a sternly worded letter telling Ms. Jacob not only to stop talking about the issue, but to tell everyone else to stop talking about it as well.
This is a typical, heavy-handed dinosaur approach from a major law firm. I am not talking about the validity of anyone’s claim, but only the tone in which the response was worded. I also find it very hard to believe that people involved in the fashion industry, as the new The Coveted people seem to be, were not aware of The Coveted’s site, which the response letter categorizes as a “personal blog”.
The response is clearly meant to be a threat and, more troubling, a slap in the face to Ms. Jacob, a tireless advocate for fashion writing, a well-respected member of the online fashion community, and, most of all, a reasonable person.
Of course, the new The Coveted is now experiencing the ire of fashion bloggers who, one would assume, make up a large percentage of their intended readership. And I have no doubt that people will go to the site, finding nothing wrong with the fact that they took Ms. Jacob’s name. (I offer this as a fact, and not a question of legality.)
In contrast, consider that the name The Sunday Best also represents a band and an art collective in Portland. No one looking for either, or the BET show for that matter, would mistake this blog for it. If there had been a personal style site called The Sunday Best you can rest assured I wouldn’t have used the name. And I certainly would not have considered it for any commercial project.
I do not wish ill towards the new site or its owners. I only wish for them to recognize that a fashion-related entity named The Coveted was already in existence, and choose another name accordingly. In fact, I believe doing so would garner them far more readers than any legal action.