Madonna has launched a new album by distributing decoy files (MP3) on peer-to-peer networks, greeting listeners with curses rather than music. (Thanks Andrew.) To fool downloaders, of course, these files have Madonna's name and song titles in the filenames.
I doubt Madonna has thought about the damage these planted spoofs could do by diluting her trademarks. Trademarks, after all, are intended to protect consumers by defending a source's association with quality goods and services. If the same name is increasingly found on deliberately poor quality music files -- or curses, with the authorization of the trademark holder, duped listeners might reasonably stop thinking favorably of the brand -- giving a plausible argument that the artist had diluted or abandoned her own mark.
Madonna should be particularly conscious of this risk, given that she used trademark claims to get the madonna.com domain name (from Dan Parisi, who tried to give it to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital).
More immediately, the spoofing stunt also got madonna.com hacked.Posted by Wendy at April 20, 2003 06:02 PM | TrackBack