Archant’s KOS Media, publisher of Kent on Sunday, helped a children’s charity win its copyright battle against the X-Factor – which resulted in the show’s eventual winners changing their name from Rhythmix to Little Mix.
A press release sent out by Archant on Friday said:
In a battle of David and Goliath proportions, a blog on Archant KOS Media’s www.kentnews.co.uk has helped a small children’s charity win a row with the mighty X Factor.
Back in September the charity, Rhythmix, was stunned when they heard that a girl band on hit TV show X Factor had been given the same name.
However, thanks to a blog by KOS editor (news and sport) Chris Britcher, the charity was inspired to fight for their name, and by November they were celebrating as pop mogul Simon Cowell finally relented.
Once the dust had settled, chief executive of Rhythmix, Mark Davyd, wrote to thank Chris for his inspiration: ‘Chris, you won’t know this, but on the day you published your blog piece ‘Why the X Factor needs to think again’ I was under a huge amount of pressure to bow down to the X Factor and just give in.
‘The team was in meltdown, the press were hounding everybody, and we were being made to take a decision about whether to lose the name and all the goodwill or stand up for ourselves and invest time and money into fighting them.
‘Nearly everybody on a professional level (the lawyers, the PR) etc was telling us to take a deal that basically gave them the name and left us absolutely shafted.
‘And then we saw your article. And I said, you know what, if this guy can see what’s wrong here, maybe everybody can see what’s wrong here, and maybe just once the little guy doesn’t have to give in.
‘Chris, you inspired me and the team to do this and I thank you for it.”
Rhythmix, which has offices in Tunbridge Wells and Brighton, has worked extensively with vulnerable youngsters since 1999 across Kent and Medway. But it was left stunned in September when TV chiefs announced they had given a manufactured girl group the same name. It claimed it was damaging all its good work in carefully building up its reputation.
The decision sparked a huge outcry on the internet with tens of thousands of people calling on the show to reconsider, and Chris Britcher’s blog being re-tweeted around the country.
One Facebook group had even set up a campaign to ensure the eventual winner of the show was denied the coveted number one spot at Christmas by calling for the public to buy Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit instead. It secured nearly 70,000 followers just weeks after being launched.
But at the end of October, after charity chiefs penned an open letter to Simon Cowell, TV bosses finally relented and announced the girl group’s name would change.
Chief executive of Rhythmix, Mark Davyd, told Archant KOS Media: ‘We’re delighted to see that public pressure has finally forced X Factor to see sense over this issue and to change the name of the band.
‘We would particularly like to express our thanks to Archant KOS Media and articles on its www.kentnews.co.uk website for their support in making sure this didn’t slip under the public radar.
‘We’re going back to doing what we do every day – helping vulnerable young people create their own music.”
The charity registered the name as a trademark in 1999. But X Factor bosses said as it was only for education purposes it would not prevent them from using the moniker for the girl group.
When the charity contacted the X Factor about the name initially, rather than looking to resolve the issue, the TV show simply unleashed a top London law firm forcing it to get into a messy – and expensive – legal fight.
Rhythmix uses music to help vulnerable children – frequently the bereaved, disabled or those running foul of the law – to enhance their development and communication skills.
The girl group’s name has now been changed to Little Mix and, more importantly, Simon Cowell has agreed to make a donation to Rhythmix to cover their legal costs – reportedly around £20,000.
To read Chris’ blog see http://www.kentnews.co.uk/blogs/why_x_factor_needs_to_grow_up_over_rhythmix_row_1_1085028