The webmaster of Dialidol, a web site the suggested it could predict the next American Idol 5 bootee based upon the number of busy signals for the remaining contestants, has gone offline. The site’s creator, Jim Hellriegel, Jr., shut the site down after receiving a cease and desist letter from the show’s producers, FremantleMedia.
The cease-and-desist letter has very odd rationale, as Fake Rake noted. It claimed DialIdol “allows people to download clips of episodes of American Idol without the permission of the producer, and uses the American Idol logo and music,” which wasn’t a part of the site, according to Fake Rake. In addition, Fremantle claimed copyright violation because of “unauthorized use of the names and likenesses of American Idol contestants, hosts and judges.” So, if I type Simon Cowell, did I just violate their copyright? Greedy bastards.
As the LA Times’ Scott Collins writes, “It’s possible (and understandable) that Hellriegel might have gotten spooked when lawyer-man sicced the legal mumbo-jumbo on him. In fact, that’s probably what Fremantle was banking on. It’s easy to attack Hellriegel for appropriately logos and other trademarks; it would be a lot tougher to claim that his autodialing and prediction system somehow violates Fremantle’s intellectual property.”
The site’s webmaster has “contacted the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, looking for a pro bono attorney to defend DialIdol against a cease & desist letter from ‘Idol’ producers FremantleMedia,” according to Collins.
Hellriegel writes on Dialidol.com that “I now believe FremantleMedia (the parent company of American Idol) is infringing on my first amendment rights to free speech and free press,” and says the site may be back online this weekend, but “without the application available for download, without the predictions and without the logo.”