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British App LitterGram's Plea to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - Stop the Legal Action Against Us!

LitterGram
LitterGram, an app developed by Danny Lucas of Kent, UK, with the aim of tackling Britain's growing litter and fly-tipping problem, has been told by Facebook's legal team to rename and re-brand due to the use of 'gram' in their name. Facebook set a deadline of April 28th (today) for LitterGram's answer to their demands.

In response Lucas has posted a personal plea, in which he speaks directly to Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to stop the legal action and work with him to combat a major environmental issue. Zuckerberg has become well known as of late for his apparent concern for the environment and his contribution to charitable causes, so it would make sense for him to back the app and its initiative.

In a letter sent by London law firm Bristows on behalf of Facebook, the use of the LitterGram name is stated as being "unacceptable to our client" on the basis that the app "utilises and relies on social media usage to achieve its aims". They go on to assert that "our client cannot allow use of such a name in relation to services which are core to its world renowned services in the area".

LitterGram
I fail to see how Instagram can view LitterGram and the service it offers as any kind of tangible threat to them or their brand. Sure, the app does include photo sharing capabilities, a service for which Instagram is known to most of the western world and beyond at this point, but its scope is far too focused to be viewed as competition.

To be honest, if the misconception did arise in a few people's minds that LitterGram was in some way associated with Facebook or any other part of the company, how would it do them any harm? LitterGram is providing a valuable service with environmental benefits and, as we all know by this point, environmental objectives are PR gold to a company such as Facebook. Rather than forcing a re-brand, Facebook would likely be better off trying to form a working relationship with Lucas and his team.

In his plea, found below in video form or here as an extended written version, Lucas points out that forcing LitterGram to change its name at this point would "destroy all of our ingenuity and hard work" and force them "back to the drawing board". That would be a massive shame, particularly now, as the app has recently secured its first partnership with a local council, with more expected to follow suit in the near future.

The most compelling arguments to be found in Lucas' response, in my opinion, are as follows:


"This is not a money making exercise, the app is free to the public, and our portal is free to the councils. We have never set out to be Facebook or Instagram.

"Social media in today's world is a human right, and for that reason should not be exclusive to global giants like Facebook who for sure have deep pockets to engage the best available lawyers. But to attempt to stop a much needed problem solver like LitterGram I find an extremely hard pill to swallow as it goes completely against what you are about.


"I am a great believer in timing. Mark, please consider the power of LitterGram. Review your lawyer’s letters, and as an alternative to an aggressive attack on us, please consider joining me, and support this much-needed campaign."


Bearing in mind that Lucas' idea began with sending telegrams to relevant councils before the creation of the app, the name is logical, and it seems unreasonable for Facebook to demand they remove the suffix as it is derived from a common-usage term, not their trademark.

I won't be the one to dictate your own opinions however, so take a look at the video plea below. Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments and, if you support Lucas' stance, make it known by sharing the hashtag #savelittergram.




Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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British App LitterGram's Plea to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - Stop the Legal Action Against Us! Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Thursday, April 28, 2016 Rating: 5

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