Corus Owns 'Humble and Fred', Sends Letter Requesting Money

humble and fredHumble and Fred received a letter from Corus Entertainment Inc. this morning. It was from one of Corus's "Trade-mark Agents" and it was to the attention of Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson at Humble and Fred Worldwide Studios.

I've seen the letter, in fact I have a copy, and here's what it says:

As you may know, Corus Radio Company owns the Canadian Trade-mark registration for HUMBLE AND FRED (Registration No. TMA501188) in connection with the following services:

"Entertainment services through operation of a radio station providing services including radio broadcasting; gathering, producing, programming and disseminating of music, news, information, public service messages and entertainment in all forms for radio; radio broadcasting services and related commentary and news broadcast on radio."

We understand that you have registered the domain name www.humbleandfred.com and have started your own internet show as of October 15, 2011.

In light of the fact that Corus owns the HUMBLE AND FRED trade-mark, we are writing to propose a Trade-mark assignment of the above noted registration to you. This assignment will transfer Corus' ownership of the registration to Humble and Fred Worldwide Studios. We request a payment of $5,000 in consideration of this assignment.

If the above is acceptable, please let us know. We will promptly prepare the Trade-mark assignment agreement for your review. The assignment, once finalized, will be submitted to the Canadian Trade-mark Office so that the change in ownership can be recorded.

Humble and Fred called this Trade-mark Agent, who has advised them that it's not a joke and they've owned the trade-mark since 1998. What's interesting to me is that Humble and Fred appeared on a rival station, Mix 99.9, for years using that name, and Corus seemed completely fine with it, but now that Humble and Fred are podcasting, it's no longer cool.

Corus Entertainment wants something for Humble and Fred's use of the name Humble and Fred, and they've named their price: a whopping $5,000.

Discuss among yourselves....


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Comments (61 - click here to join in!)

Ian Service

Interesting that Corus has no complaint about a competing radio station using their trademark (likely because they knew the Mix legal team would have smashed this claim in the face and cost everyone more money than it was worth).

On the other hand, the text above comes off rather fairly and instead of asking for rights of use, they're offering to sell the trademark, something Howard and Fred may want in the long run anyway.

I say we hold a bake sale and we, the people, own the trademark.

November 23, 2011 @ 2:14 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I've already contacted Corus to offer them $6,000 for the trade-mark. I'm gonna own these two!

November 23, 2011 @ 2:20 PM

JP

Glad you brought this to light.

What a bunch of cheap A-holes. What's $5000 to Corus? Pricks.

November 23, 2011 @ 2:26 PM

Not Jim Jr.

I hope no one of significance at Cours HQ signed off on this demand. If so, they should be embarrassed.

I would suggest that someone on the 6th floor at Corus Quay has far too much time on his or her hands...

November 23, 2011 @ 2:26 PM

Tim G.

Guess they won't be getting hired at Corus anytime soon. How about renaming the show Fred and Humble?

November 23, 2011 @ 2:30 PM

The_Voice

Um... I interpreted it not as "You can't use the trademark" as "You can buy the trademark".

Also note, they specifically say the trademark is for "radio". An internet show isn't radio, is it? So they're basically saying, "Hey, if you do want to do radio, buy the trademark from us now", not "If you don't buy the trademark, we'll sue you."

Maybe I'm misreading it?

November 23, 2011 @ 2:31 PM

Joey

Humble & Fred should trademark "Crappy Radio" and offer it to Corus for $5000.

November 23, 2011 @ 2:32 PM

Larry Fyne

Who cares about these two hacks? I mean really, the podcast is the last desperation move. They were bad on the radio before, I cannot imagine how bad they will be on a podcast! I'll give Corus a $1.00 just to have the domain and then sue the pricks for infringing on my trademark.

This blog is something too. I ran across it by accident but every other posting is about Humble and Fred. How far up Fred's butt is Toronto Mike's head? Answer - this much!!

November 23, 2011 @ 2:32 PM

Iain

Trademarks have to be actively used or defended. If they used 'Humble and Fred' while at Mix, and can prove it, Corus could be shown to have abandoned the trademark. IANAL, but you should check with one. I suspect Corus doesn't have a leg to stand on.

November 23, 2011 @ 2:35 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@The_Voice

The language used is very interesting. It doesn't say "you can't use Humble and Fred" directly, but it does clearly say "we own the trade mark and you're using it against the rules".

Then it refers to $5000 for the assignment of ownership... the insinuation seems clear: give us $ for your trade-mark if you want to have a podcast called Humble and Fred Radio.

I don't think it's quite as nice as "you can buy the trademark", although it's not yet "buy the trademark or we'll sue".

November 23, 2011 @ 2:36 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Larry Fyne

Nice comment.

There's been a few Humble and Fred entries the past month, but that's because I'm on the team and a key figure behind the project, not because I have my head up Fred's butt.

It's duly noted that you're neither a Humble and Fred fan nor a Toronto Mike fan. Thank you for the feedback.

November 23, 2011 @ 2:39 PM

Rationalité

A free form unregulated talk show is a big liability for a big corp to be associated with. Guys who have been in radio for 30 years obviously understand this. No?

November 23, 2011 @ 2:41 PM

WTF

$5000 for a company like Corus is peanuts! PEANUTS!

Just give H+F the damn trademark if you don't want it, or leave it all as it is.

$5000 is an insult!

November 23, 2011 @ 3:35 PM

Steve

Sounds like a total shakedown to me. If they did decide to tell Corus to get bent they'd have a very good case, but it would likely cost considerable money to prove it if it went that far. At least I'm sure that's what Corus is hoping for, which would, in their eyes, make it better for H and F to just pay the bribe and be done with it. Total dick move, all things considered.

November 23, 2011 @ 3:42 PM

Dan

It's just "pocket change" for the boys!

November 23, 2011 @ 4:03 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I created a Good Guy Greg for this occasion.

Redditors might want to rate it here: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35cgkk/

November 23, 2011 @ 4:45 PM

CQ

This is parallel to precisely what I noticed about MLSE's acceptance of Big Company Loblaws using the Maple Leafs Gardens (beginning Nov 30th) naming.
http://classicquarters.blogspot.com/2011/11/galens-gardens.html
Which Toronto Mike wrote about Oct. 20th when it was Ryerson getting a lawyer letter.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:12 PM

Pam

I've gotten an earful the last few weeks hearing what H&F and guests have to say about the state of radio.

This extortion by Corus, reveals just how vindictive that radio world is. Humble and Fred, you'll do well to stay out of it for good.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:43 PM

Geoff

Their whole world is the radio world!

November 23, 2011 @ 5:46 PM

JP

"$5000 for a company like Corus is peanuts! PEANUTS!"

That's why this is insulting.

$5000 is small enough that it's insignificant for a company like Corus, but large enough that it IS significant (I would imagine) to Humble and Fred.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:47 PM

Sam from England

I'm no lawyer, but if it were me and it was over here I would refer them to the response given in the case of Arkell v Pressdram (1971). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Eye#Litigation

November 23, 2011 @ 6:12 PM

Cambo

This is awesome!

It means someone at Corus is listening to them, and obviously jealous that no one is listening to their crap stations.

Fuck you, Corus.

November 23, 2011 @ 6:55 PM

andrew

Are Roger, Rick & Marilyn thinking about a comeback also?? This is not the 70's-90's. Personally, they may be great people including H & F, but their schtick is too ancient. People still want to hear it because of the past, but in time it will get boring. Same old, same old.

H & F are trying something different & great for them, I do wish them all the best. They were very successful earlier, but times have changed. Does anybody know where radio is going in the future??

A LOST CULTURE.

November 23, 2011 @ 7:01 PM

Lorne

(Legal advice from the Internet, get a lawyer, etc...)

But--

You might be able to challenge that they failed to uphold the trademark when H&F were on 99.9. Unless 99.9 paid Corus a fee, too.

You can make a counteroffer and negotiate a price.

Or you can go the Bush route, and change it to Humble & Fred X. (Or maybe "Fred & Humble")

November 23, 2011 @ 8:55 PM

anonymous

How about - Humble, Fred & MIke??

November 23, 2011 @ 9:04 PM

Dan

The fact that they used the name for a period without any objection in the same market effectively means that Corus has abandoned their claim to the trademark. If you don't enforce your trademark rights, then you are basically saying you don't have them.

November 23, 2011 @ 9:07 PM

Pat

Typical horse-shit bullying.
Eff you, Corus

November 23, 2011 @ 9:51 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

Corus can go butt fuck themselves...seriously? first they go and destroy the best radio station on the planet to the point where it is unrecognizable and have lost most of the personalities that made it what it was, and now they are desparate enough to go after Humble and fred for $5000 do they really see them as that much of a threat? I would send them a letter back and simply state: "sue us".... its going to cost them more if it were to go to court to sue them than $5000 it wouldnt be worth it. Not to mention the fact that Humble and Fred were Humble and Fred way before Corus bought CFNY and technically dont they have to inform Humble and Fred that they are trademarking them?
I say take a page from the MOJO days and issue Humble and Fred Stock Certificates, I am proud stock holder #141 when they did stock certificates on MOJO sell them for a few dollars per share and raise the money to pay the $5000 that way

November 23, 2011 @ 11:49 PM

Anonymous

Fck Corus
Fumble and Head won't cost

November 24, 2011 @ 12:50 AM

Mike from Lowville

@ andrew, radio ga ga.

"F" Corus!

Maybe Fred should sell his shares and buy the trademark.

November 24, 2011 @ 6:53 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

From Humble and Fred:

One day after Corus Entertainment notified Humble and Fred that the trade mark Humble and Fred belonged to them, the fellas reached a compromise with Dave Farough, Vice President of Brands and Programming for Corus.

Thus was born Humble and Fred's Trademark Registration Christmas Fund for the Holidays, and oh yea, Corus.

To help raise the five thousand dollars necessary for Humble and Fred to buy back their name from Corus, you can donate to our Pay-Pal account (humbleandfred@humbleandfredradio.com via PayPal).

Corus has agreed that all monies will go to charity.

November 24, 2011 @ 12:48 PM

Irvine

You call that a compromise? This is all about Corus & they are the CLEAR winners.

My suggestion would be this. Have H&F sell their Corus stock & buy the trademark themselves. Allow others to donate if they wish. I mean you aren't going to get $5000 from bystanders on this. They WILL moan. They WILL groan. They WILL diss Corus. But they aren't coughing up that dough.

Class act Corus. I can't wait until technology decimates you.

November 24, 2011 @ 1:10 PM

Mississauga Phil

Hey Irv......shut up

November 24, 2011 @ 2:42 PM

Pam

@Irvine - Corus the clear winners? I think not - you don't know anything about trade mark law. How much in billings do you think Corus blew on a lawyer, law clerk, admin assistant, registry office costs, printing, copying etc - probably more than 5 grand! But the bottom line there's a whole lot of snickering goin on... and Dave Farough comes off as an idiot...

November 24, 2011 @ 3:19 PM

Irvine

Pam: Corus is a multi billion dollar public company. They have a legal team on staff. It is highly unlikely they consumed 5k of internal resources figuring this out.

If Corus has claim to said trademark the domain can also be claimed as their own. I've been part of that process twice with regard to domains and trademarks

November 24, 2011 @ 4:56 PM

Sammi

Sorry Pam...and it pains me to say this...but Irvine is right. Corus did win this. If they really wanted to be 'nice' about this, they would have asked for $1 and give the trademark to them.

Corus is trying to save some face here and they are coming across like idiots.

November 24, 2011 @ 7:05 PM

Trish

Corus did NOT win this. It has agreed to donate the money to charity. This thing could snowball, so Corus can't afford having the reputation of chiselling a couple of former employees for a measly $5,000. As we have discovered the last three weeks, H&F have quite a few of loyal and influential friends.

November 24, 2011 @ 7:31 PM

Mississauga Phil

I say again...Hey Irv...shut up

November 24, 2011 @ 9:43 PM

Stephen from Kitchener

This is some serious bullshit. Eff Corus. Just when I thought they couldn't be any bigger of a dick company, they pull something like this. It is so petty. $5000 is nothing to them. I highly doubt the money will go the charity - it a half assed save of face by them to make themselves look good and it fails. They could say anything just to get you to believe it. They still get the satisfaction of screwing over the little guy.

I really do hate how big this company has become. Not only do they own tons of radio stations that are all bland and have pretty much the same looking website layout for each one (no personality), they also own tons of TV networks - some on which, imo, are also going down the shitter.

I used to love radio. Now, I barley turn it on. Why? Because it was ruined in the name of greed and small playlists.

November 25, 2011 @ 9:52 AM

Irvine

@Trish: Wow. You really believe that? Do you really think Corus is concerned about the claims from people on this forum that "Corus sucks, I'll stop listening". Remember Martin Streek? Remember how many people said "I'll never listen again". Go surf over to bbm.ca and look at the PPM's and tell me how effective & truthful those claims were.

Corus will simply structure any donation with their own self promotion in mind. After all, that's just good business, right?

You also seem to not understand trademark law. If Corus can prove they are indeed owners of the brand "Humble and Fred" they are entitled to sell the trademark at whatever cost they see fit. This is decision that WILL be made with lawyers.

And Trish, it has to be made. Because if H&F monetize this podcast in any way, shape or form, Corus could turn around and claim they profited off a Corus trademark.

OR..say H&F make a disparaging remark against some entity. If Corus could prove that their comments negatively affected their business they could sue the asses off H&F. Do you really want to be looking down the proverbial barrel of a shotgun of a multi billion dollar public company? And it's very probable this podcast is NOT incorporated meaning that if the court was to award any damages to Corus H&F would be personally on the hook.

Companies protect their trademarks. You shouting that it's wrong or threatening "a lot of people won't like you" really carries no weight. The actions of Corus are just business (tho I suspect, if this is all real, it's someone that has a grudge against one or both of these two).

PS to H&F and the show handlers. I would investigate the playing of copyrighted music on the podcast. I'm unsure where we stand with copyright and Tariff 22 in Canada but it's something to investigate. I was always required to submit documentation for what I played, when I played it, number of listeners along with any revenue. It's just in your best interest to do it (as my lawyer told me when I ran an online radio station)

November 25, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Mississauga Phil

Hey Irv...seriously...shut up

November 25, 2011 @ 11:03 AM

Trish

Let me make this easier for you, Irvine, because you're obviously a card short of a full deck.

Newspapers, magazines, television and RADIO are rapidly being replaced by the internet. Understand??? A shiny waterfront castle is not going to protect Corus from the inevitable. So if the idiot at the top displays your kind of blind arrogance, then he deserves what's coming to him...

November 25, 2011 @ 11:56 AM

Irvine

@Trish: Having spent nearly 18 years actively involved in IT & the internet (professionally & personally), I'm cognizant of what's happening around us specific to media & other industries. Sorry Trish, what industry are you in? Insurance right?

Where you care completely wrong is that "RADIO" is being replaced by the internet.

The internet is not replacing FM radio. It's simply dethroned it (at least from a musical hegemony standpoint). There are more FM stations than ever before in Canada & the media conglomerates that own them are, for the most part, profitable. And this will continue. FM radio will continue as a viable entity for the foreseeable future.

You see, you make the assumption that because radio sucks (and it does) that it's going to end. It's not. Just like home cooked diner food is not going to displace McDonald's as the top restaurant on the food chain.

Finally, perhaps it's not radio that's the idiots in this equation? Perhaps it's those listeners that don't have the wherewithal to grasp the new reality. It's those that cling on to the "old days"; the tired relics at SOWNY that do nothing but espouse how wonderful the past was. The glory days of CHUM or CFTR or CFNY. Do you still use a modem to connect to the internet too?

This is the golden age of radio. There are more choices than every before. Those that love music will embrace the internet or the choices of paid networks (Sirius). Those that love compelling talk will download podcasts or listen to CBC or NPR. Those that like cookie cutter radio that's devoid of personality or innovation will continue to listen to FM radio.


November 25, 2011 @ 12:40 PM

Anonymous

Blah blah blah. Bore us so more, Irvine. We all could use another snooze.

At the risk of sounding like you, I've worked in the magazine industry for over 20 years. Admittedly there are other factors in its coming demise, but I've seen first-hand the internet's effect on subscription numbers, which determine advertising rates. And it is not pretty. If you think this isn't happening at Corus, you're an idiot. You said it yourself: there are more FM stations than ever, but with so many other choices they cannot possibly maintain their audience, which determines their ad rates. You sound like a flack from the communications office at Corus.

BTW, I didn't wait for Martin Streek to be fired to ditch CFNY. I quit years ago because I hated Blundell and I stayed quit.

And I highly recommend Bell Fibe.

November 25, 2011 @ 1:15 PM

Trish

Sorry, Mike. Anonymous is me.

November 25, 2011 @ 1:15 PM

Quinny

H&F - change your moniker.

Time to move on- look There was Regis & Kathy Lee it survived as Regis & Kelly which is now Kelly & Whoever.

Point being names don't matter when the content is compelling enough to listen to.

How about Freddie P & Howie?

Patterson & Glassman?

If the show is that effing good it doesn't matter what its called.

If the shoe were on the other foot you would want to protect your own Intellectual Property.

November 25, 2011 @ 1:30 PM

And Another Thing...

@Trish "Newspapers, magazines, television and RADIO are rapidly being replaced by the internet"

If the internet is the place to be why did H&F go there only when they could't get real radio jobs?

I'm sure Corus getting rattled by the 20 people posting here!

Glen Beck did the same thing when Fox News dumped him.

Internet radio shows done by out of demand radio personalities is the same as the Casino circuit for washed up rock n roll acts.


November 25, 2011 @ 1:41 PM

Trish

Like I said, you just don't get it. I guess I.T. is a great job for someone with no humanity. Maybe you'll understand when the door is finally closed to you.

Humble and Fred, average age 50, have been used to having a live show, an audience, a cheque every two weeks. It's easy to adapt to changing times in your 20s, not so much in your 50s. It actually didn't take them long to figure it all out because they were both recently fired. Whatever the future holds, it seems to me that for a couple of "out of demand" radio guys, they seem awfully happy...

November 25, 2011 @ 2:09 PM

Mississauga Phil

Oh my god....Irv...Shut the Fuck up!!! I'm so sick of you talking down to everyone here just because we disagree with you. If you're so fucking smart and computer saavy, why do you resort to picking fights on someone else's SUCCESSFUL blog instead of starting your own.

I'll talk to you the way I talk to my 4 year old in the hope that you might understand - If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all, and play nice with the other kids or they won't want to play with you.

Is that plain enough for you or do I need to draw a diagram...

November 25, 2011 @ 2:41 PM

Irvine

@mississauga phil: I'm picking on people? I can find numerous posts that attack ME directly when I haven't given the time of day. PS, maybe make more of a contribution that "shut the eff up Irv". If you need help with English try Rosetta Stone

@Trish:

There are stark differences between the decline of print media & FM radio. The decline of print media was precipitated because folks went online for the free version. Why pay for the Sun, Star or a magazine when you can read it online.

Radio suffered no such thing. The flight of listeners from FM radio was because of quality issues. FM radio dumbed itself down & a portion of the population fled. Some of them have gone to the CBC & it's intelligent, engaging programming. Others pay for Sirius. Others stream online.

Two very different things. Ironically, radio has made the right choice. It's realize it creates a product for the lowest common denominator so it targets that market. Whether you like it or not is moot. The reality is there is a market for crap like Blundell, 102.1, CFRB, etc.

You see Trish, technology IS at fault for the decline of print media (partially). Radio is at fault for the decline of radio. Proof is that there are 10s of millions of North Americans that PAY for radio now. Whether it's SiriusXM or supporting their fav online/non profit station, they pay for it. Some of those stations are FM stations too (like Jazz FM or CKUA).

November 25, 2011 @ 3:56 PM

Mississauga Phil

I've made many intellegent contributions, and thanks, but my english is just fine...I said shut the fuck up Irv because I wish you would....

November 25, 2011 @ 4:16 PM

Mississauga Phil

And I never said you were picking on people, I said you talk down to them for disagreeing with you. Every comment from you that I have ever read consists of you belittling anyone who disagrees with you...or bashing Mike and his "circle jerk" of frineds (your words not mine, I find most of the people on this site pretty funny)

November 25, 2011 @ 4:18 PM

elvis

At this point Irvine, you could say 1+1=2 and people will disagree. You've got a knack, intentional or not, of coming across as an asshole.

November 25, 2011 @ 6:33 PM

Tell Tale

Irvine's Boss
Irvine it has come to my attention that you are spending your whole day writing to different Blogs on the net and are wasting our companies time and money. We are transferring you to Corus Entertainment where they condone this activity.

November 27, 2011 @ 8:34 AM

Justin Case

Irvine, don't go away mad, just go away. Please and thanks!

November 28, 2011 @ 1:51 AM

Justin Case

Irvine, don't go away mad, just go away. Please and thanks!

November 28, 2011 @ 1:52 AM

Irvine

Thanks for the mention on SOWNY. I own u all. PS. Your GF says hello

November 28, 2011 @ 10:28 AM

John

CORUS have officially proven and shown up front what they've been doing for years. Thier bullying and irrational thinking and treatment of people both on the inside and out (H and R) is legendary as is thier lack of tenacity. I would suggest that this fiasco brought on by themselves is not what anyone with a head on thier shoulders call good promotion for thier name or brand. Humble and Fred are RADIO LEGENDS. I would suggest that this is an admission that the duo are intimidating the mighty (in thier own mind) CORUS. I have experienced thier way of doing things before. The word "class" does in no way apply to thier name but adding a few letters to thier name would better suit. The CRTC made a historical mistake years ago allowing big corporate broadcasters to buy up radio station, sometimes two or three in the same market thus eliminating thousands of jobs. How ironic that we have a canadian content rule for musicians but don't protect the talent that works in the radio industry. Hubmle and Fred are broadcasting thier way becase of what the CRTC did. It should be done away with and duplicate ownership in the same market should end. First we need to move the CRTC to OTTAWA. Then we can make some solid decisions for both RADIO and TELEVISION.

November 29, 2011 @ 8:54 AM

Bob

Humble and Fred should pay the five grand on the condition that CORUS in turn donates it to charity.

November 29, 2011 @ 10:46 AM

Wowser

This is all too funny. Dave Farough is such an idiot. His recent botches are legendary. Can you say Alan Cross?

November 29, 2011 @ 2:07 PM

West End S

F !!! Corus, shit radio and shit way of treating people in general. Rogers is right behind them, surprised they let Mad Dog and Billy use that over at Virigin without similar consequences.
Fuck all of these big companies owning radio stations, it's just crap !!!!
add a d to Humble and Fredd

December 9, 2011 @ 9:12 AM

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