INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana—With the release of Madonna’s newest album comes a threat from Joe Francis that unless she agrees to specific demands, he will sue her over the first song on the record, “Girls Gone Wild,” which of course also is the name of his company. The threat came Friday courtesy of a letter from his litigation attorney, David Houston, who in addition to Madonna also included NBC/Universal and the National Football League as recipients because of supposed plans by the Material Girl to perform the aforementioned song during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In a prepared statement released late this afternoon, well after the C&D was publicized, Francis said he only learned about the title of the first song on the new album this morning while shopping on Apple iTunes .
"I was blown away when I saw our name being used without our consent," he said. "I had to do a double-take when I saw that it was the number one song on the album."
About the rumored performance of the song this Sunday, he said, "Not so fast," but then added, "Don't get me wrong, I'm a Madonna fan, but business is business. Maybe the Material Girl and I can work this out over drinks."
Maybe that drink offer should have come before the issuance of the C&D, which uses some harsh language in claiming that Madonna and her “co-conspirators” are knowingly riding on the coattails of Francis and his famous brand, which is equally known for the number of lawsuits involving its founder as it is for the content created by the company.
“My research indicates, and numerous news articles have mentioned, that Madonna plans to perform publicly the song entitled Girls Gone Wild at this Sunday’s Super Bowl on February 5, 2012,” stated Houston in the C&D. “It is clear Madonna is making unauthorized commercial use of Girls Gone Wild’s trademark. Your attempt to ‘free ride’ on the valuable consumer goodwill and brand recognition of my clients’ trademark constitutes, inter alia, unfair competition, and false designation of origin, trademark infringement, and trademark dilution.”
Labeling the alleged trademark trespass as “willful,” Houston added, “Madonna and her co-conspirators may well be liable for profits derived from her unlawful use of the Girls Gone Wild trademark, for actual damages, enhanced damages, and attorney’s fees.”
Litigation can be avoided, however, if Madonna agrees to the following demands:
(1) Cease and desist all use of Girls Gone Wild trade identity and trademark;
(2) Account for the number of times Madonna and her co-conspirators have utilized the phrase Girls Gone Wild representing a violation of my clients’ trade identity and trademark;
(3) Negotiate an immediate licensing agreement for use of the Trademark;
(4) Agree to pay Mr. Francis’ attorney’s fees associated with this matter; and
(5) Agree that Madonna shall not perform or market the song at the Super Bowl this Sunday.
“We look forward to receiving your response no later than 5:00pm February 3, 2012,” concludes the letter, which contains no mention of drinks.
The 'Girls Gone Wild' C&D can be accessed here.