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Charity issues legal complaint against title of new Justin Timberlake single

By | Published on Tuesday 16 July 2013

Justin Timberlake

US sexual assault awareness charity Take Back The Night has issued a complaint via its lawyers over the new Justin Timberlake single, which bears the same name. As previously reported, the new track was unveiled last Friday. And that was the first the charity knew about Timberlake’s new song title and the name clash. The organisation’s bosses reckon that the singer should have alerted them to his plan, because the single could have a detrimental effect on the charity’s online presence.

Speaking to RadarOnline, Take Back The Night Foundation Executive Director Katherine Koestner explained: “Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause. We have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, ‘Take Back The Night’ has a different definition. That’s not been helpful”.

She continued: “[Timberlake’s] legal agent got back to us and said they’re sorry. His agent said ‘Justin’s a good guy! He’s a family man!’ They claimed he’d never heard of us before he wrote that song. I don’t know what country he’s been in. I suppose it could have slipped off his radar screen somehow. Somebody working for him definitely messed up [though]. It’s a big song, and he didn’t take the necessary steps to make sure that it was appropriate. Normally they do have due diligence”.

Although the organisation’s lawyers have passed on the complaint to Timberlake’s people, it’s not entirely clear on what legal grounds the charity could stop the singer from using ‘Take Back The Night’ as a song title, or why he would have been obliged to clear it with the charity. Though clearly in PR terms, Take Back The Night isn’t an organisation any celebrity really wants a public squabble with. Koestner concluded: “Usually people are pretty mindful because no one is actually ‘for’ sexual assault. This whole thing with Justin is just really unfortunate and we’re hoping it can be amicably resolved”.

For his part, Timberlake has now issued his own statement, saying he hopes this dispute can be turned into a positive, by winning the charity more attention. He said: “I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with this organisation. As I’ve learned more about the Take Back the Night Foundation, I’m moved by its efforts to stop violence against women, create safe communities and encourage respectful relationships for women – something we all should rally around. It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause”.