SABC serves Owen Ndlovu with cease-and-desist letter

The public broadcaster, SABC has sent a cease-and-desist letter to its former sports commentator, Owen Ndlovu. This comes after Ndlovu used the SABC trademark and logo to promote his summer song campaign.

Five years ago, Ndlovu, through his Michael Owen Production, entered a deal with the public broadcaster for the summer song campaign. When relations turned sour, the two parties severed ties.

However, the public broadcaster continued to run the song campaign, inviting an interdict from Ndlovu stopping it from airing promotions related to the Song of the Year competition and claiming ownership of the copyright.

Ndlovu argued that in 2017 and 2018, the broadcaster was in breach of a contract when it ran his concept and campaign for a summer song of the year by excluding his company while the contract was still active.

Speaking to the media previously, Ndlovu said: “The SABC not only stole my copyright, [but] it also generated millions of listeners’ votes in 2017 and 2018, especially on Ukhozi FM.

But it did not share the revenues with Michael Owen Productions, even though the contract stated that we should go 50/50 on revenue. It was greedy and selfish.”

SABC denied the allegations, stating that the reasons it had not renewed a contract were due to challenges it faced over its partnership with Ndlovu.

As a result, the broadcaster said it had been inundated with inquiries from listeners who had not received the prizes promised by Michael Owen Productions.

After Ndlovu announced on his Facebook page early this year that he was working on promoting the summer song campaign, the Auckland Park-based broadcaster threatened him with legal action.

In a cease-and-desist letter dated January 12, the SABC wrote: “It has come to SABC’s attention that you have been using trademarks to promote a certain summer song campaign and still intend on using the name and logo to promote your campaigns.

Please be advised that the SABC trademark is registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, belongs to the SABC, and forms an integral part of the SABC’s intellectual property.

Your potential continued unauthorized use of the SABC trademark has the potential to cause irreparable harm to the goodwill and reputation of the SABC, whose trademark vests in the SABC.

Your use of the SABC trademark and purporting to be collaborating with SABC is unlawful and misleading to the public.”

The broadcaster wrote further: “Be advised that your actions constitute an infringement violation of the trademark laws of SA, since you must be permitted to use a trademark.

We hereby demand that you immediately remove the SABC trademark from the artwork on your Facebook page and cease any further usage of the SABC trademark and its logo in any manner, including but not limited to the further promotion of your campaigns.

“Provide the SABC with prompt written assurance, immediately upon receipt of this letter, that you will cease and desist from any further trademark infringement of the SABC name and logo.

“Should you fail to comply with this cease-and-desist letter within the stipulated time, the SABC shall contemplate pursuing available legal remedies, including seeking monetary damages.”

Ndlovu is yet to make a comment.

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