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Rhythmix charity writes to Simon Cowell in bid to end X-Factor conflict

By | Published on Wednesday 26 October 2011

Simon Cowell

Children’s music charity Rhythmix has written an open letter to Simon Cowell in its continued bid to stop ‘X-Factor’ from using the same name for one of the acts in this year’s competition.

As previously reported, having shoved four women together who had entered as solo artists but weren’t good enough on their own, ‘X-Factor’ bosses bestowed the name Rhythmix upon them. However, the charity argues that because it also works in music there is a risk of confusion.┬áThe charity works with children who have been bereaved, who are disabled, or who have been sent to youth detention centres, using music as a method to aid personal and communicative development. Operating since 1999, it owns the trademark in the name in the educational space, though not music. It’s the music trademark which ‘X-Factor’ bosses are now trying to secure.

However, because music is at the heart of what the charity does, they fear the TV producers’ application will hinder their fundraising operations (eg staging music events under the Rhythmix banner) and cause confusion online. But when the charity contacted ‘X-Factor’ to object to their trademark application, it was simply referred to the show’s legal team, who basically said the charity had no legal case and should go away. Morals, you see, don’t matter to the ‘X’ producers.

Now, in an open letter to Simon Cowell published this morning, the charity’s chief executive Mark Davyd has asked the show’s overall boss to “just change the name”, to ensure that his organisation can avoid expensive legal action.

Davyd writes that when Cowell’s company Simco applied for the trademark, it was “fully aware that ‘Rhythmix’ was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people”.

He continues: “Rather than seeking any discussion with the charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have a negative impact on the activities of the charity, Simco and their legal representatives apparently sought a way to use the law to circumvent [our] trademark”.

Pointing out the work Cowell already does with various other children’s charities, Davyd says that, although he does not believe Cowell is unaware of what is going on, he may be acting in a hands-off manner, leaving his team to “manage” the situation. However, this, he adds, is “forcing the Charity to take legal action to ensure it can continue to exist and offer opportunities to young people to create and perform their own music”.

“Maybe those young people won’t be on your programmes, or your record label”, writes Davyd. “But the music they create is important to them”.

He adds: “Rhythmix the charity has worked with over 40,000 young people in the last twelve years. All of that work is placed at risk by the actions of your company. Every legal action the charity has to take to protect itself from Simco is a project that won’t happen. A project that could make a difference to a vulnerable young person. A large number of the public reading this will see it for exactly what it is; a ridiculously overblown storm in a tiny teacup. Simco are solely responsible for that situation and you can resolve it in a matter of seconds”.

He concludes: “Simon, we are personally asking you to sort this problem out in the quickest and simplest way: Just change the name”.

Read Mark Davyd’s letter to Simon Cowell in full here.