The New York nonprofit that owns "Fashion Rocks" is suing Jay Penske's Mail.com Media Corporation—the parent company of Deadline Hollywood, Movieline, and Hollywood Life—for ripping off the charity concert's name and brazenly pretending to own it.
The Gross Foundation has been licensing the "Fashion Rocks" name to produce fundraising events around the world for years, although most notably it's been used by Condé Nast to promote New York's annual Fashion Week.
Last week, the charity sued Mail Media Corp, accusing the Los Angeles-based Internet company of engaging in "deceptive" business practices by using the "Fashion Rocks" name without permission and claiming it as one of MMC's corporate brands.
But the most striking part of the accusation is just how convinced MMC—which does actually own Mail.com, Movieline, Hollywood Life, and Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily—was that it actually did own Fashion Rocks. According to the suit, MMC's corporate site had a separate page, completely devoted to Fashion Rocks:
That page is now blank, but not gone. Something certainly was there, though — MMC's corporate page for Hollywood Life still has a link to its dead Fashion Rocks page, and it still appears in Google's search results:
The suit also claims that MMC advertised Fashion Rocks as part of its "expanding portfolio" on its investor page, although that reference, too, has now vanished.
Ordinarily, we might wonder if this was all some silly mistake. A moment of confusion by a web designer or copywriter, perhaps. But then there's this other, almost comical accusation that says MMC even hung the Fashion Rocks logo up in its corporate headquarters:
Look, Jay, we get it. You want to be the next Si Newhouse. Fine. Godspeed. But you can't literally be him, so stop ripping off Anna Wintour's fundraising ideas and come up with something original. Surely Nikki can plan something, we hear she's a fun time.
In the meantime, good luck in court. The suit is seeking an injunction to stop MMC from using the "Fashion Rocks" name, as well as attorneys' fees, unspecified damages, and a chunk of whatever profits MMC made by piggybacking on the "Fashion Rocks" name.
The Gross Family Foundation v. Mail.com Media Corporation [PDF download]