American Idol Creators Threaten Senior Citizens Over “Trademark”

The so called high-powered law firm FremantleMedia North America, who represents the producers and or creators of the soon to be defunct show, “American Idol,” sent a cease and desist to state Sen. Marty Golden, who sponsors an annual talent contest for older adults (senior citizens) called “Brooklyn Senior Idol”  that benefits AARP and the band at  Xaverian High School. The firm warned the seniors to cease and desist because their charity is using the term “Idol” in association with the competition.

The letter read in part according to Brooklyn Eagle,

“While our client appreciates your enthusiasm for the American Idol and Idol brands, as a federal trademark owner, FremantleMedia cannot allow the unauthorized use of the Brooklyn Senior Idol mark in connection with talent competition services. Cease using the Brooklyn Senior Idol mark in connection with your talent competitions and remove…any advertisements, promotions, signs, or other material containing the Brooklyn Senior Idol mark.”

The letter goes on to say the Brooklyn competition needs to stop using the Brooklyn Senior Idol mark and remove it from all promotional and advertising materials.

Naturally Sen. Golden is upset, he can’t understand why the firm and the creators are making such a big deal because American Idol is going into its final season, and the proceeds from Brooklyn Senior Idol goes to AARP and the band at Xaverian High School.

Golden stated;

“It is really an insult, to the seniors and to the Bay Ridge community.  Focusing in on 700 people, give me a break.  This is a national show and they’re going to go after 700 people for Senior Idol?”

Instead of wasting resources to fight the bully firm and creators, Golden called on to the public and notified them of the cease and desist and asked for suggestions to change the name.  So far two of his favorite suggestions: Brooklyn’s Golden Voices or Brooklyn’s Golden Oldies.

Zernerlaw makes a great point in an unrelated article when speaking of how to protect your idea for a reality/competition like show; Zernerlaw point out;

1.  The Competition Show: Starting with American Idol, it includes America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice, Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars, Last Comic Standing, America’s Next Top Model, and Project Runway.  All of these shows have amateur contestants competing in various skills (singing, dancing, cooking, stand-up comedy, fashion), judges judging the outcome, and a weekly vote (by the judges or America) in which one contestant is sent packing.

And then mentions;

“So take a look at this list for a minute.  Don’t you think that if a format like American Idol was protectable, that Fox would do everything in its’ power to get The Voice and America’s Got Talent off the air?   And wouldn’t ABC have sued VHI for Flavor of Love if the idea behind The Bachelor was protectable?  Of course they would.  The fact that they haven’t should give you some indication as to their protectability.   So, if your idea falls into one of these categories, or if it is fairly similar to some other show but with a little twist, it’s really not protectable.”


I am all for protecting your brand and all, but this goes too far. As Andy Denhart from Reality Blurred points out; no one is going to confuse; American Idol with the Brooklyn Senior Idol.  

When Kroy Biermann and Sheree Whitfield competed in Atlanta’s Dancing Stars (Charity), the charity didn’t hear from Dancing With The Stars lawfirm or creators. Matter in fact, the charity, Atlanta’s Dancing Stars, is still putting on events and raising money for Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. The charity also boasts of “reinventing the popular show, Dancing With The Stars” on their Facebook Page.

What Do You Think About American Idol threatening Senior Citizens? 

Photo Credit: Featured Picture, American Idol, used under the Fair Use Act.