For a Britain-based carmaker, Aston Martin sure lacks a sense of humor – at least when it comes to fan-made ads, because as far as cars are concerned, the company showed its funny side by slapping its cherished winged logo on a Toyota iQ and naming it the Cygnet… Why are we telling you all this? Because we just received a letter from Lewis Silkin LLP, a law firm that represents Aston Martin, and which demands the takedown of an image/ad we shared on our site of a young lady posing on a kitchen bench with the tagline, “You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?”, for the brand’s used car division, and which cloned an older BMW commercial. We did not create the image but merely shared it after it circulated on the internet (i.e. on Twitter) to note and inform viewers that it was not made by Aston Martin. The letter talks about copyright infringement (not by us, by the creator of the ad) and that the “image itself brings the Aston Martin brand into disrepute and is defamatory of AML” (we seriously doubt that there’s anything more defamatory to AM’s history than the Cygnet). In any case, here’s the law firm’s cookie-cutter letter, which will likely land in more email boxes today with different links to the posts:
“AN unauthorised copy of the Aston Martin ‘wings’ device appears in the bottom left hand corner of the image found at http://www.carscoops.com/2013/02/bmw-like-used-aston-martin-ad-is-not.html. The image also uses without authorisation AML’s trade marks for the wings device and ASTON MARTIN (in the phrase ‘Aston Martin pre-owned’ and in the domain name www.used-astonmartin.com). [Editor’s note: It say’s ‘Pre Owed’ not ‘pre-owned’] The image appears to be an advertisement for Aston Martin pre-owned cars but has not been authorised or approved by AML. For the avoidance of doubt, AML has never consented to the use of its name or ‘wings’ device or domain name in this image. The image appears to be an advertisement for Aston Martin pre-owned cars but has not been authorised or approved by AML. For the avoidance of doubt, AML has never consented to the use of its name or ‘wings’ device or domain name in this image. Accordingly, the reproduction of the ‘wings’ device in the image constitutes copyright infringement; and the use of the ASTON MARTIN name and ‘wings’ device trademarks constitute trade mark infringement; and the image itself brings the Aston Martin brand into disrepute and is defamatory of AML. Given the seriousness of this matter we ask that you take down the infringing image immediately, both at the URL referred to above and anywhere else that it may appear on www.carscoops.com.”
If you want our opinion, Aston Martin should have issued a statement saying that it has nothing to do with the ad and leave it there as far the media is concerned, especially since the image did not bad-mouth the brand. Handing out cease and decease letters to sites and possibly individuals who merely reported the story because “the image itself brings the Aston Martin brand into disrepute and is defamatory of AML” shows a lack of humor and understanding of how the internet works. At least, that’s our two cents worth. Feel free to chip in your thoughts below.