Intellectual Property Law

In Rush to Create New '48 HR' Mag in a Weekend, No One Focused on Legal Issues

In an impressive demonstration of the power of online social media and journalists’ devotion to their work, a conversation among three friends in a San Francisco bar earlier this month morphed into an actual 60-page magazine created over the weekend after a call for help was put out on Twitter.

Entitled 48 HR: Hustle, the magazine, which was created a little over a week ago in office space donated by Mother Jones, isn’t likely to win any major awards but is a testament to the power of the printed word and new media technology, recounts the Media Decoder blog of the New York Times.

“We all want proof that it doesn’t take a bunch of money and lawyers to make something great. And you now what? It doesn’t,” writes the collective in an editor’s note.

A little legal help, however, might have gone a long way, it appears: On Tuesday, May 11, an assistant general counsel at CBS fired out a cease-and-desist letter complaining about a claimed dilution of the network’s 48 Hours television show trademark. And in addition to not focusing on whether the name of their magazine might pose any such issue, the Times reports, the collective also didn’t think about incorporating.

So far, they have sold 1,000 copies of the magazine at $10 per copy, and had been planning a second issue.

The network’s general counsel, Louis Briskman, says CBS is willing to work something out, once the magazine answers its letter, and 48 HR: Hustle has now lawyered up. Partner Julie Turner of Turner Boyd says she is working on a response and she too hopes for an amicable resolution, pointing out that her clients were acting in good faith.

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