As reported previously, music charity Rhythmix has been locked in a dispute with X Factor’s parent company, Simco, over the naming of one of this year’s finalists and the attempt to gain a European trademark, preventing the charity from continuing to operate under its existing name. This week, Simco officially withdrew its own trademark application; however, there is still a bone of contention for the charity in this captivating fiasco.
To date, Simco has not released a public statement, either in the press or to the charity, discussing the issue of the £8,000 in legal fees that the charity has incurred. Instead, the company now deem the subject closed.
After the implementation of a highly successful social media campaign, which, it should be noted, was carried out by not only the Rhythmix staff, but a large contingent of supporters who volunteered their time, efforts and expertise to the cause; the word was spreading. Stephen Fry mentioned the issue to his 3.3 million followers on Twitter by stating: “Oh dear. Is Simon Cowell using lawyers and endless money to ruin a charity? Surely not. But questions need answering.” In addition, other famous faces, including impressionist and comic Alastair McGowan have lent their support to Rhythmix’s cause.
Following the news that UK PR agency, Unity, who represent clients such as Friends of the Earth and Cancer Research UK, have offered their services to free to Rhythmix, a new social media campaign is gaining momentum.
“Cowell Must Pay” is a campaign that aims to utilise mediums such as Facebook and Twitter to publicise the dispute between both parties to the general public, but with a twist. In the same vein as the voting systems used on the popular ITV1 show, supporters of the cause can vote via text to donate £1 to the charity. The charity is urging regular viewers of the show to abstain from their usual vote for an act on the programme, and instead “vote for Rhythmix” by using the text to donate service they have launched.
Mark Davyd, Director of Rhythmix commented yesterday that:
“We have to laugh at the dark absurdity and irony of a situation that cannot be ignored. This is an industry with big [companies] such as Sony, Syco and BPI that fights so hard for copyright and trademark legislation because they are key to protecting the business and developing talent.
“They are now using this legislation and the legal fees that come with it to slowly bleed a charity like us out of business. It is simply wrong that we are at the hard end of corporate bullying, legal maneuvering and we need all the help to fight for our future.”
You can support Rhythmix by texting RTMX11 £1 to 70070. All monies raised by the text service will go directly to the charity. There are no extra charges from using the service, which is provided by JustTextGiving and UK taxpayers can choose to Gift Aid their donation.
The text donation line will open at 9:30pm (GMT) on Saturday 12th November, during the live broadcast of The X Factor on UK television.