Ad agency to radicals: "We own radical media(TM)"

Jim from the Open Rights Group sez, "Activists in the UK organising a 'Radical media conference' have been told by ad agency @radicalmedia that they cannot organise a 'radical media' conference. The agency claims trademark infringement. As the activists say, 'We Make Radical Media, You Make Adverts'."


  1. As radicals the Ad Agency needs to be investigated like all of the other subversive radical groups the government fears.

  2. Well, that looks pretty straightforward. Radical Media has that trademark in the UK (Community Trade Mark E2002244 going by the Intellectual Property Office ) and is defending it properly since the activists in the apparently didn’t bother to do a trademark search before naming their conference (it took me about 30 seconds to find the trademark). TIme to rename your conference and check the name first, boyos.

  3. “In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”

    – Herman Melville

  4. Hmm. Maybe in the interest of “truth in advertising,” the Radical Media ad agency should be forced to make genuinely radical media, and be banned from making anything that constitutes advertising, or else be forced to abandon the slogan and trademark.

  5. Typical that an ad/media agency would attempt to hijack something genuine and morph it into consumer-driven advertising medium.

    It’s been done for years already- No astonishing news there. Although I never cease to be surprised that they think it will actually fool people.

    1. @radicalmedia has been around for twenty years. These activists came up with the phrase last August. Who’s hijacking what?

      1. What are you drunk? Radical Media is not something these activists came up with. Looking through old left wing magazines in my shelf the term has been around since the early 90’s… in Sweden. The English term, in English, has been used in Sweden for about 20 years. So I can only assume its older in the US or England.

        @skysky… Radical, revolutionary, murder – all the vogue words have been stolen and rebranded. Like hoodies and BDU’s after 2001.

        Personally I think the people using the term should just set up shop out of EU and just go with it. If they don’t know whom to sue they cant sue.

        1. What, are you high? RTFA.

          It seems common sense that any media which reports on radical politics – setting out to serve that constituency – might naturally be referred to as “radical media” so, back in the autumn a small band of volunteers began working to assemble “The Radical media Conference”.

          In the US the preferable term has been “underground” or “independent” media. And because these folks appear to think they came up with the phrase, “radical media” wasn’t common in the UK, either.

          1. Yes THEY did, but the term is not new. Not in England… I doubt its new in the US (even though Indymedia, has some kind of strangle hold on left wing media there it seems)

            And YES, a bit high and a little drunk. Its Valpurgis Night here which means more or less everyone in Sweden is drunk/high/all of the above and tomorrow its first of may… so taraa!

  6. looks like all these brands and companies need to be contacted and told that if they continue using they will no longer be patronised.

    I think radical media needs to understand how social media works.

    Thanks Reddit.

  7. most assuredly not radical, they need to spell it with a hyphen or k to differentiate it from true “radical media”. like R4dickle-M3d14Z, so everybody would know. and stay away.

  8. I’m not going to be too adamant in this defense, but it seems like this is precisely the kind of function that trademark is supposed to provide, and that there isn’t really any kind of heinous abuse going on here.

    The Radical Media company has identified a group using the same name that it (unfortunately, legitimately) sees as a threat to their business. This isn’t a case of them denying something that would have absolutely no bearing on their business – they might lose business because of this.

    And the argument that the Radical Media company is not actually radical is pretty silly. “Radical” has a whole bunch of meanings and connotations.

    So while it’s unfortunate that an actual radical media conference is on the receiving end, it seems to me that if we’re going to preserve any sense of trademark, this is it — a company uses their trademark to differentiate their products.

    Now, the logic behind giving a trademark to the words “Radical Media,” I can’t figure out.

    1. Trademarks primarily protect nondescriptive terms. For example, Best Buy has received only limited trademark protection (in the words of one judge, “Who wouldn’t want to advertise that their product is the ‘best buy?'”). This is why, for example, there is a bookstore called Amazon and a computer company called Apple (and why Apple is almost certain to lose “app store”). This is even clearer in UK law. Radical Media (the ad company) has no leg to stand on.

  9. @skysky I’m sorry, but you’ve totally missed the point here. ‘Radical media’ is a concept that is in common usage and goes back a long time. It’s like trademarking the words ‘media’ or ‘film’ and then denying anyone from putting on a ‘media conference’ or a ‘film festival’. That is not the purpose of trademarking and I very seriously doubt that this case would have a leg to stand on in court.

    By the way, this is what Professor John Downing who wrote the book ‘Radical Media’ back in 1984 said when we told him about it.

    “As the author of Radical Media (Boston, Mass., 1984), and the second revised edition by the same title in 2001 (Los Angeles, Calif., 2001), both multiply cited in a variety of nations across the planet ever since, it is patently ridiculous and, if persisted with, actionable, for this entity to attempt to hijack my title and exclude legitimate organizations from using it in the public realm. I will enjoy engaging in legal action to forestall their consummate arrogance.”

  10. I gotta say, in defiance of the advert industry, it’s good to find melville and bill hicks on the same comment thread. the internet is all right.

  11. Seems like claiming ownership of a trademark is kind of like a little kid yelling “First!” or “Shotgun!”. You put two or more words together (liked “baked potato”) then trot on down to some government office and file a claim. If you’re in there first you win. Phooey.

  12. everything I’m finding on the plantiff’s site is labeled

    Are they claiming usage that they don’t even actually use?

  13. Trademark is also only supposed to apply in a specific, limited commercial context. That’s why Bob Guccioni was able to publish a magazine called Omni at the same time that Dodge was producing a car called the Omni, while there was also an Omni hotel chain.

  14. how about some real ‘radical media’?
    I’ll start:
    2002, an extra in Blade2 samples his own image/scene from internet pre-release version of the H-wood film, and places it into his own (pre-prepared) short film, and releases THAT to the internet the same day Blade2 comes out in Cinemas (say what?) – all in protest of the impending DMCA. Hence the title of said short, The Infringement: A Comedy in One (dmc)Act
    this happened before there were ‘viral videos’ so it didn’t go viral

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