Saturday, February 04, 2012

Girls gone wild

Joe Francis the soft-porn entrepreneur, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Madonna, threatening to sue if she plays the song “Girls Gone Wild,” from her new album, during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday, TMZ reported.

“This isn’t personally directed at Madonna as a person, this is a business decision. And now she’s aware that she stepped over the line,” Francis’ lawyer David R. Houston told the Daily News. “If Mr. Francis was producing a product called ‘Material Girl,’ and she had a copyright, I doubt she’d appreciate it.”

He said he and Joe Francis became aware of the song in the last 24 hours after iTunes started accepting preorders. He said Francis has a federal trademark for the phrase. “I agree ‘Girls Gone Wild’ is part of the lexicon and people use it quite a bit, but when it’s used for commercial profit, it’s important for us to protect ‘Girls Gone Wild’ as the brand he’s spent decades developing,” Houston said. They haven’t heard anything back from the letter

Madonna told reporters this week that she plans on playing “three old songs and one new song” during the halftime show. Francis’ lawyer said through his “research” he determined it was the “Girls Gone Wild” single. “Your attempt to ‘free ride’ on the valuable consumer goodwill and brand recognition of my clients’ trademark constitutes ... unfair competition, and false designation of origin, trademark infringement, and trademark dilution,” Houston continued.

He offered to avoid “costly litigation” if Madonna agrees to pay for a licensing agreement, Francis’ attorney fees — and not perform or market the song at the Super Bowl. A post on the Girls Gone Wild twitter account linked to the TMZ story and added “Don’t you DARE sing that!!!”

A rep for Madonna told the Daily News that the pop star "won't be singing that song at the Superbowl."

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