Get Up! forced to take down ‘Protect our ABC’ billboards after copyright dispute with ABC

Get Up Protect our ABC outdoorPublic broadcaster the ABC has forced activist group Get Up! supporting the broadcaster to withdraw an outdoor advertising campaign targeting Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull due to a breach of copyright.

In January, Get Up! launched a publicly funded campaign with 12,500 people donating money for billboards on Bayswater Road, one of the main commuter links in the Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth, and Military Road in Abbott’s electorate of Warringah.

However, after erecting the billboards the activist group was sent a legal letter by the ABC’s legal and business affairs unit which complains about the use of the the Bananas in Pyjamas and the ABC “Wave” logo.

“It is our understanding that various works incorporating images of the Bananas in Pyjamas and the ABC “Wave” logo have been made available on the GetUp! website, on social media, in leaflets andbumper stickers, and most prominently on billboards on New South Head Road, Rushcutters Bay, and also on Military Road, Mosman (the Works),” writes  Grant McAvaney, senior lawyer ABC Legal & Business Affairs.

“The ABC owns and has exclusive control of the intellectual property rights related to the Bananas in Pyjamas… Furthermore, the ABC “Wave” logo is a trade mark owned and registered by the ABC in Australia and many other countries. The ABC also owns the copyright in the logo.”

The letter acknowledges that while the campaign is supportive of the broadcaster, the ABC are concerned that consumers will think the campaign is endorsed by the public broadcaster.

“While it is clear that your campaign is in support of the ABC, you will appreciate that the ABC is concerned that your distribution of the Works could mislead the public into believing that your organisation is affiliated with the ABC or Bananas in Pyjamas, or is endorsed by the ABC,” he writes and asks that the campaign be taken down.

“When our ABC campaign was launched last month in response to attacks by right-wing politicians and commentators, it took just 72 hours for nearly 215,000 people to sign on,” said GetUp’s campaigns director Erin McCallum in a statement.

“That makes it our fastest growing petition ever – underlining the community’s strong support for the national broadcaster In response to this request, we’ve removed the billboards.”

A spokesman for Get Up! confirmed that the billboard had come down in recent days and had ended “a couple of days earlier than expected.”

The ABC declined to comment.

Nic Christensen

ABC blurred

ABC’s letter to Get Up!Letter 2



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