The Lab

Real News: Steve Aoki To Sue Wunderground – Issues Cease & Desist

STEVE-AOKI-VS-WUNDERGROUND2-633x400-628x396

Please note: All of the written articles on Wunderground are satirical and fictitious, as all you lovely readers know only too well by now. However we have tagged this one as FACT as this is 100% real.

We have received a cease & desist letter from Steve Aoki’s hot shot Beverly Hills legal team threatening to sue us for lots of various things, all explained in the boring cease & desist letter which you can read here. It sure was printed on lovely paper though!

Basically, Steve isn’t too keen on Wunderground because we like to poke fun at him every now and again. To be fair, we poke fun at pretty much every electronic music act, including everybody from Tale of Us to David Morales, from Disclosure to Maya Jane Coles. We’re an Electronic Music comedy site, it’s kinda what we do.

And so when we ran a recent 30 day crowd funding experiment offering our readers comedy electronic music t-shirts, sweatshirts and bags we included a Steve Aoki parody tee as a possible reward. We even did a digital mock-up, which you can see below. We used Steve’s head in the mock-up but unfortunately never got to put the tee into production, so the poor tee never got to be born. Dixon will be really upset, he looks great in it I think everybody will agree.

steve aoki sue wunderground

Steve doesn’t see the funny side though, and he has sent his attorney to beat us up. Apparently he is going to be waiting for us after school tomorrow, and it’s not going to be pretty!

So before we continue, we have a disclaimer for everybody working in the media, comedy and fashion scenes. From this day forth, you must not poke fun at celebrities and you must never put a celebrity on a t-shirt. If you do, that celebrity will never eat again. You’ll literally ruin their career. They will starve to death most probably within hours.

If this tee had actually gone into production and somebody had the nerve to slip their pretty little torso into it, we’re pretty certain Steve Aoki would be on the streets within days. And so we’re glad his attorney sent us his nice cease & desist letter. We just saved Steve Aoki’s career, if not his life!

A few minutes before publishing this post, I replied to Steve’s Attorney in our usual Wunderground manner. You can view a copy of the actual letter here, but because we love you here at Wunderground, we have pasted the letter in full below.

We’ll update you on this one as it unfolds…

Enjoy!

Mikey Maguire – Wunderground CEO

 

[divider]Wunderground Response To Steve Aoki’s Legal Team[/divider]

 

Dear Leslie E. Frank, Esq.

Firstly, let me apologise for my delay in replying. Since I first read your letter a few weeks ago I have been flat on my back in hysterics of laughter, rolling around the office floor uncontrollably both day and night. It has left me completely unable to do anything else and I have been out of action ever since. It’s actually been a massive burden on my life this last month, and I’ve lost relationships over it as I’ve missed weddings, christenings…even the birth of my own child, who I haven’t met yet due to this prolonged laughter fit.

My mother came into the office one day last week and tried to spoon feed me some soup as I hadn’t eaten in weeks, but I just kept rolling over and back, giggling to myself, eyes red raw from tears while dribbling the food back down my cheeks and all over the carpet. It was very hard for her to see. I think she is worrying for my mental health ever since.

My favourite bit was the part where you accused us of damaging Steve Aoki’s reputation via Wunderground. That was hilarious, and I commend you on your GSOH. Should you ever try internet dating, you definitely should add that to the list of positive traits you display. You have one seriously GSOH!

Firstly, and I can’t believe I’m having to point this out to yet another hot shot celebrity DJ lawyer, but wait for it… wait for it…

Wunderground’s articles are not factual!

No really, we’re a satirical comedy website. I’m sure everybody in your office is much too busy reading the Wall Street Journal, chasing online comedians with cease & desist letters and eating Cronuts (and who could blame you all? They are little balls of heaven) to know what Wunderground is, so I’ll get your client to fill you in.

Go to his homepage and right under his picture click on the huge blue banner he paid somebody to design on the homepage that says…

“LOL! did you get fooled by the fake “story” on Wunderground.ie”

You can’t really miss it, it’s pretty much the first thing on the page bar Steve’s face and the actual menu. Steve can show you where it is if you can’t find it. If he is too busy blowing up rafts or learning how to ride a unicycle to take your call, the screenshot below gives you directions…

Steve Aoki Banner Wunderground

When you click it, you’ll see a post Steve wrote to his fans assuring them of our parody status. We prefer to be called satire, but hey, we won’t sue him over it. Aside from reassuring his fans that he is actually a DJ, Steve makes sure to point out that we’re a parody site. He actually quotes us in our last letter to David Guetta’s lawyer (Yes, I have been seeing other EDM lawyers, we never said we were going to be exclusive. By the way, Calvin Harris’s lawyer, if you are reading this, call me!)

And so to explain my point I’m going to quote Steve quoting me. It’s kind of like Inception, but with a bigger actor and more cake.

“Wunderground is a satirical dance music website that never deals in actual factual statements or events, but instead pokes fun at the dance music community through the medium of comedy.”

Again, if you need to re-read that quote, go to your client’s homepage. Big blue banner.

Now, if it’s my own personal opinion you are after, there is somebody running around the electronic music scene, talking online and doing things in public to harm your client’s reputation. I’m happy to give you that person’s name if you like?

He is called Steve Aoki.

I joke! I joke. Lift your jaw up off the floor. I have a GSOH too, you see? You’re not the only one around here with the jokes 😉

Right, so let’s get down to business. Let’s start with the T-Shirt in question. It was funny, wasn’t it? Only, it never actually existed, to the dismay of many I’m sure. Your letter refers many times to the “infringing tee”. Unfortunately, there is no “infringing tee”. There never was. The image you refer to is simply a digital mock-up. In fact, all of the Wunderground Apparel range on the indiegogo campaign you refer to were simply digital mock-ups.

As I’m sure you are aware, crowd-funding campaigns serve to raise money towards a project that usually does not exist yet, as was the case with this project. If Steve intended on suing us over this, I’m sure he purchased one of the “infringing tees” in question, and so is only too aware he has not received it yet. Sorry Steve.

Any t-shirts that were due to go into production have been on hold since we received your letter. The “infringing tee” which you refer to was only ever an idea, one that never went into production and now, won’t ever go into production. So let me ask you a question.

How can you sue me for selling a t-shirt that never existed?

It’s kind of like that whole “If a tree falls in the woods” thing. If a t-shirt doesn’t ever exist in the woods, can you sue me for selling it?

KETAMINE K HOLE

As I’m sure you are also aware, people who wanted this T-shirt did so by investing into the crowdfund, and then got to choose which t-shirt they received as a reward. Only 11 people in total requested this t-shirt as a possible reward, if it ever did go into production. Which it didn’t.

Just 11 people across the globe said yes to this. I’ve been in a toilet cubicle with more people than that!

I’ll use an analogy here, maybe one Steve can understand. If I own a cake shop, and had that cake shop open for a full month, 24 hours a day and seven days a week (in a similar fashion to the way the indiegogo project ran online) and at the end of that month I’ve only sold 11 of a certain type of cake… well, you couldn’t beg me to stock that cake ever again. It’s a non-seller, a complete dud.

And so it is with complete agreement I can bow down to your first demand. We won’t ever offer that Steve Aoki tee for sale. EVER. You really didn’t need to write to us and ask us, really. You could have saved yourself a stamp and three lovely pages of that nice paper you use, which I must advise you has been cut into lovely squares 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches and stacked in our upstairs bathroom for just the right moment. It really is that nice a quality of paper. Plus, we’re savages in Ireland, they don’t sell the nice stuff here yet.

Moving on. Copyright infringement, right? We’ve reproduced a copyright-protected image of Steve’s lovely face that Steve Aoki and Ultra records own and we must now burn in the fires of hell for all eternity?

We haven’t reproduced the image. Not even once. As you have already learned, it has never once gone on a T-Shirt. The only place you have seen it used is in our digital mock-up of the proposed tee. Even then, we only used a small portion of the image you talk about and altered that small portion in many different ways before then adding as only one element of another much more complicated mock-up image.

So are you suing me over the whole digital mock-up image in question, including the male model who features twice (You might recognize him, he is called Dixon, he is also quite a big DJ but he hasn’t sent his legal team after us yet, please don’t rat us out!!), the tee, the street, the wall behind Dixon and the lovely green window in the image etc, or are you suing me over the 1/50 of the image we used that you say your copyright-protected image features in?

I would place the two images side by side below for you to compare, but to do that, I would have to use your actual image in full. And you would probably sue me for that, right?

Starting to feel petty to you yet?

Another thing. What you won’t have seen in the mock-up version which is the only one thing that went ahead is that aside from only using a small portion of the “copyright-protected image” (Steve’s face) and altering it to a black and white format, we have also added thousands of tiny cakes running in a dot matrix style pattern across his face with the words “I’m going to take down the entire electronic music community. Let them eat cake!” emblazoned across his lips.

The image in question is clearly a completely different image to the one you claim we are reproducing, and is a complete parody based on this extremely public figure and his extremely controversial and ludicrous actions on stage. This man puts himself out there in the most public of fashions in a way that not only opens itself up to ridicule, but demands it. Steve has chosen to be this controversial public figure, perhaps he needs to build a bridge and accept that there are opinions out there concerning his public persona that he will not like, but it does not make them illegal.

As you will be aware in your line of work, by it’s very nature, a parody MUST closely resemble or reference the original enough for the audience to recall the original, but not so much as to actually BE infringement – thereby “fair use” of the image. No deal on the infringement I’m afraid.

So to recap:

  1. The parody t-shirts never actually existed, they are nothing more than an idea that never happened. Our flights and accommodation to Paris fashion week where we were set to officially unveil this tee to the world’s glitterati have been cancelled and the world’s press have been notified, you will be happy to know.
  2. Anybody that requested this Tee has been offered a different item. Something that actually exists. It’s coming into Winter now, something that actually exists will be much warmer. Wow, we nearly had 11 very cold customers there. Thanks for that.
  3. We haven’t infringed on your image copyright. It’s a lovely picture of Steve, really it is. But it’s time to let go now. There are other pictures of other EDM DJs out there. You’ll get over this one in time. May I suggest some candles, a glass of wine and an evening on Google Image Search typing in phrases that start with “DJ”? That’s what I do when I’m lonely. You can have that one for free.
  4. You have a very GSOH. I do too. We could be friends.
  5. Here in Ireland, we are savages that wipe our bums with our mail.
  6. Cronuts are little balls of heaven. They are the only time you ever want little balls.
  7. Wunderground is not the gospel. It’s much more believable than that! Haha, but no, really, Wunderground is not based on reality or fact. Read a few articles. You’ll see what I mean very quickly.

Moving on. You’ve made a little check-list of demands. I love lists and I love it when you are demanding, so this is all round heaven for me. Okay, I’ll address each of your demands separately.

1. Remove consumer access to the “Infringing Tees”

Consumers can’t access the Tees in this dimension as they don’t exist. The indiegogo page closed some months ago and the Tee is not available for sale on our site. Anybody that tried to buy it has not been successful and never received this tee. As I’ve already explained, there wasn’t many takers anyway.

2. Provide evidence that you have destroyed all “Infringing Tees”

No problem at all. I’ve included photographic evidence that all the “Infringing Tees” have been destroyed. See below for a picture of me trying to set them all on fire. Now look, I’ll be straight with you. I’m all up for these demands and helping you out as much as I possibly can, but I stood outside in my back garden in the pouring Irish rain with gale force winds for over 3 hours trying to set a pile of non-existent Steve Aoki T-shirts on fire with a lighter and despite my persistence in the face of almost certain defeat I still couldn’t get it to light. My neighbours are laughing at me ever since. My poor mother, she just stood at the kitchen sink staring out into the garden at me and my meager attempts for the full three hours crying her eyes out. Did I tell you she is starting to worry about my mental health?

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3a. Provide full accounting details of sales and proceeds from the crowd fund blah blah blah.

Firstly, this breaks every data protection law in the book here in Ireland. You know about data protection right? I sure they mentioned it in legal college. For us to give you a full list of our customers details without their permission is illegal. And you don’t roll like that, so I won’t ask you to.

3b. Provide evidence we have put all crowd funding proceeds into an account controlled by your client.

Your client couldn’t control a single buttoned CDJ, so he certainly isn’t going to control our bank account. As I have already stated, any funds in our account did not get there through by reproducing your image, or by fulfilling orders for a non-existent shirt. T’was simply an idea we shall look back at in years to come while wondering where the hell Steve Aoki ever went to.

4. Take any and all other necessary or appropriate steps to eliminate further violations of our clients rights.

Of course. We always do.

The last part of your letter where you threaten that Steve Aoki will come after us for – compensatory damages, disgorgement of profits, punitive damages, statutory damages, attorney fees and costs for misappropriation of our client’s name and likeness and rights of publicity, copyright infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, and violation of your clients common law trademark rights – really hurts my feelings.

In fact, the whole sentence makes my head hurt.

I much prefer this sentence…

“How can you sue me for selling a t-shirt that never existed”

You really seem to mean business so I’m going to leave it here for now, with the understanding you’ll probably be sending me another load of silly legal nonsense about feeding Unicorns at the end of a rainbow, or something else that never actually existed. Just PLEASE make it less funny next time, or you’re hired!

Yours forever and ever until the end of time,

Mikey Maguire

Wundergroundmusic.com

P.S – I see you Cc’d Matt Colon (If that is his real name) from Deckstar press on the email you sent me with all the nasty finger pointing. While we are pointing fingers and shaking our heads disapprovingly, Matt has been spamming me on a regular basis since I launched Wunderground. We get his crappy mails all the time. A lot of the time these are Steve Aoki promo emails. Why do you guys need to spam websites with useless promos? Are you not making enough dolla already? I’m not sure what crack Matt was smoking when he thought we were a good outlet to send Steve Aoki promos to, but can you ask Matt, under section 7 of the “Stop spamming me it hurts my face and it’s illegal, actually illegal, not in a non-existent t-shirt way, but in a you-are-sending me-illegal-Steve-Aoki-emails kinda way” act, to please take us off his list. We never subscribed and we don’t want to have to send him a nasty legal letter. They’re too funny, and my mum is really starting to worry. Thanks Matt, we love you really! Peace!

Footnote: I feel bad for teasing you over the cronut thing. It was very presumptuous of me. You might not even know what a cronut is. If you don’t, I’ve included a picture of one below to illustrate. It’s basically a doenut having sex with a croissant. If you haven’t had one, look for one similar to the picture and eat it. You will surely think of this letter and thank me while two of the world’s most popular pastries bump uglies in your mouth.

CRONUT

*Disclaimer – The bit about the Unicorns… they aren’t real. You’ll figure it out I’m sure but just thought it needed to be said. Love you x

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