Claiming an infringement on its trademark rights, NYT had a parody Twitter account suspended this morning.
NYTOnIt, known for mocking needlessly in-depth stories produced by NYT, was reactivated shortly after its creator Benjamin Kabok made an appeal to Twitter. But in the brief time that the account disappeared, there was an outpouring of tweets by journalists bemoaning the loss:
- “Noooo!”– CBS News producer Sarah Boxer
- “Noooooooo.”– HuffPost‘s Elise Foley
- “We didn’t want the NYT to be THIS on it :(“– BuzzFeed‘s Rebecca Berg.
- “Guys, corporate media lawyers have no sense of humor and the Times is on it!”– Mother Jones Senior Editor Dave Gilson
- “I love that it took NYT several months to get angry about @NYTOnIt.”– HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim
NYT Spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Poynter that NYT did request Twitter disable the account. She said the company wanted to ensure its trademark “T” logo was protected. When the parody account account was reactivated, the profile image was removed.
Kabok is now hosting a contest for followers to design and submit an original logo, but is it really necessary?
To the left are both logos side by side. The one with the white background and ink smudge at the top of the “T” was the one used by NYTOnIt.
Cornell’s Legal Information Institute lays out the definition of trademark infringement: “Trademark law protects a trademark owner’s exclusive right to use a trademark when use of the mark by another would be likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source or origin of goods.”
It’s possible the parody account’s “T,” written with the same font as NYT‘s trademark, could cause confusion among some media incompetent fool. Also, the parody account does almost exclusively link to NYT material, which might lead some to think the two are interrelated. So we ask you: Should NYTOnIt be forced to change its profile image?
Answer our Fish Poll. We’ll post the results tomorrow.