There’s something so wonderfully childish about the skirmish between The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times over the past few months. First, the Journal decided to be a copycat with its own New York section. Then, the Times ran a bunch of ads saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” (Rich, attractive, and white, that’s what!) The Times stole one of the Journal’s girlfriends, then the Journal got a new girlfriend right away and said she was better than the stupid original girlfriend, anyway. Then, to top it all off, the Journal called the Times a girl, and when the Times sorta complained about it, the Journal told the Times to “get a life.” It’s all so charming! But now, things are getting serious.
We’re back to copycatting, of course. As part of the juvenile squabble, both papers have been running catty advertising campaigns (seen the Journal’s ads saying they are “ahead of the times” on the subway lately?). Except the Journal’s latest effort, a house ad with the text: “Not Just Wall Street. Every Street,” is a word-for-word copy of a recent Times ad. “While we are flattered by your admiration of our marketing efforts, please note that The Times owns the trademark rights in the Slogan and your brazen appropriation of our intellectual property rights constitutes a willful infringement and dilution of The Times’s rights,” wrote Times lawyer Richard Samson in a cease-and-desist letter dated today. “We hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist from further use of the Slogan. Please provide us with written confirmation that you have done so within three (3) days of receipt of this letter. If we have not heard from you within three (3) business days of receipt of this letter, we will have no choice but to pursue all available legal remedies.”
We’ve asked the Journal for comment, and they haven’t gotten back to us quite yet. However, if we were them, our response might be something like: “Miss Susie has a steamboat, the steamboat has a bell. Miss Susie went to Heaven, the steamboat went to hell-o operator, please give me number nine (9), and if you disconnect me, I’ll kick you from be-hind the ‘fridgerator … ”