Women of a Certain Litigiousness™
Did you know you can trademark common phrases?
Here is the cover art (photographed amazingly by Patrick Fraser and gorgeously designed by Larimie Garcia) to my forthcoming release on Manimal Vinyl before and after receiving a cease and desist order from some lawyer-happy trademark owning “artists” in the Pacific Northwest. See if you can spot the difference:
Album Art: After Lawsuit Threatened
A few weeks ago, my label got a cease and desist letter from the owners of an apparent trademark on the expression “Women of a Certain Age™.” They stated that I was not permitted to use “their” expression (one which, mind you, has been in the popular parlance since Balzac’s era) for my new album’s title.
I spoke to more lawyers than I’d care to on any given week: my publisher’s, my label’s, even my father and some of his colleagues. The unanimous consensus was that in spite of the plaintiff’s owning the trademark, were we to go to court they had no real case. Song and album titles are reused all the time; indeed even the lawsuit happy legal department at Apple Corps didn’t prevent The Replacements from releasing their own album called “Let it Be.” The phrase in question here dates back literally centuries. It’s a common expression. While they have a right to protect their trademark, there is zero to no chance of anyone thinking that my album is any way connected to them. None.
The lawyers also agreed, however, that it was likely to be a huge waste of money and time fighting it. In spite of there being no real legal incentive to do so, it would just be easier to capitulate and change the album title. And as much as that seemed totally unfair and wrong, I decided to do just that.
So, in other words, dearest Women of a Certain Age™: congratulations, your intimidation tactics have won! It must feel great to not win on merit but on being the biggest bully. Especially after years of your suffering The System and all of its injustices, as characterized so perfectly by fascist sexist pigdog men such as Paul from my label and myself. Take back the night!
No more living in a societal power imbalance; no, you won by cynically exploiting those same patriarchal tools of intimidation and using them to serve your own “artistic” needs. Literally, might makes right; and your hypocrisy here is as desperate and ignorant as it is disgusting.
Break out the wine spritzers, ladies: victory must taste sweet!
P.S. “The Last Seduction” comes out October 11 2011 on Manimal Vinyl. Here’s a remix of one of the songs, as featured on XLR8R’s top 5 MP3s a few weeks ago.