Tag Archive | "legal threat"

Tags: , , , , ,

Victory! The Power Hour is saved!

Posted on 17 January 2013 by Pete Berg

THREE YEARS AGO, I woke up to an email from a guy named Steve Roose, telling me to shut down this very website, Power Hour HQ, because I was infringing on his trademark for the term “Power Hour.”

ali_banner

I soon found out that Steve Roose was bullying other people too — anyone that had a website about our favorite drinking game, including a certain musician named Ali Spagnola.

Ali calls herself “A drinking composer with a music problem” — she had written an original power hour album, and did live power hour concerts. Steve was telling Ali to give up all of her hard work, because he suddenly owned the widespread, commonly-used name for a drinking game…so that he could kill all of the competition and sell a crappy Power Point presentations that burp. (Here’s my original article about the whole thing, “Save The Power Hour!” if you want to get up to speed.)

Unfortunately, for Steve, he messed with the wrong people. Ali took Steve to court, and challenged his trademark. I helped Ali out by helping drum up support and donations for her legal fees… and in the process, unleashed the Internet hate machine against Steve. Ali got a ton of press and a lot of support. But that didn’t change the fact that Ali still had a court case to win. She hired a lawyer, and poured TONS of money and time into fighting Steve Roose’s claim to the trademark for “power hour”.

Three years and $30,000 in legal fees later, Ali finally got the judge’s answer…

WE WON!!! POWER HOUR IS FREE!!!

Ali fought a long and expensive battle to save our favorite drinking game for everybody.

Now, in celebration of the victory, Ali is going on a Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour, doing nationwide power hour concerts! She just quit her job and is going to pursue her music full time…but in order to make this happen, she needs your help. I’ll let Ali speak for herself:

I urge you, if you have ever done a power hour, love drinking, or love JUSTICE to support Ali’s power hour tour and budding music career. You can donate to her IndieGoGo Campaign, where she is trying to raise $40,000 so that she can pay off her legal fees, and, you know, eat while she goes on her nationwide tour.

On the IndieGoGo page, you can vote for her to come play a live concert in YOUR CITY! I can’t think of a better cause to get behind…so do it!

 

The Douchiness of Steve Roose

While we’re at it, here’s a quick recap of just some of the shit Steve Roose has pulled here on Power Hour HQ.

As you know, Power Hour HQ shares video power hours, submitted by the users. Nobody makes any money from this and there are no ads on the site. Most of the videos are made by myself or my friends.

After Steve sent the cease and desist order in 2010 (which I ignored), he tried to take down my website another way. He systematically sent DMCA take down requests to all the video hosts we were using to share the videos at the time — Vimeo, Viddler, Blip.tv — and got all of my site’s power hours taken down.

But before he did that, he SAVED A COPY of each and every video, and then uploaded them to his own website, right here: http://www.powerhourgame.com/category/videos/

I mean, seriously?

He literally went through my website, STOLE all of the content made by myself and my friends, and then used legal threats via his bogus trademark to get all of the content removed. Oh, and that’s not all. When he first put the videos on his own website, he tried to CHARGE PEOPLE A MONTHLY FEE TO SEE THESE VIDEOS…which used to be available for free.

What an epic, epic scumbag.

Obviously, he didn’t make very much money from these videos because people are smarter than that. After a few months, he took down the paywall.

Meanwhile, over here at Power Hour HQ, I picked up the pieces. Luckily, I had made backups. I also saved copies of all the power hours on this website, and am now hosting them myself. While a few are still down, the vast majority are back up for your drinking pleasure… FOR FREE, as they should be! (And I’ve still got many more to add.)

Now that Steve’s lost, and his power hour products clearly aren’t selling, he’s trying to distance himself from this whole mess. Unfortunately for him, his name is forever soiled on the Internet from his past douchey deeds. So what doe he do? He tries to pretend that he’s just the victim of an unfortunate name coincidence.

Steve emailed Ali Spagnola and tried to convince her that “Steve Roose the realtor” is not “Steve Roose the power hour tycoon” (see the end of Ali’s write-up on the legal case). But if you do 2 minutes of Google research, you’ll see that Steve Roose the realtor from Costa Mesa, CA is the same Steve Roose who owns Power Hour, LLC (registered in Costa Mesa, CA). Despite Steve deleting all the photos and videos of himself promoting power hours from years past (at least the ones showing his face), he can’t take remove his name from the public record.

Steve has also claimed that his long, rambling, ungramattical comments that he posted on the Save The Power Hour post were written by an Internet imposter, not him! Yet, this commenter lists off a bunch of trivia about his company that only he would know, and honestly — who in the world would go to those lengths to DEFEND this troll?

Long story short, Steve Roose is one seriously greedy, self-centered, deranged individual.

 

Now…let’s party!

Power Hour is free for everyone again, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than by doing a power hour!

I personally recommend that you do Ali Spagnola’s Power Hour…oh yeah, and perhaps I should mention again, donate to her IndieGoGo campaign. She deserves it. 🙂

Comments (9)

Tags: , ,

Save the Power Hour!

Posted on 10 May 2010 by Pete Berg

On May 7th, I received a trademark infringement / cease and desist email from a guy named Steve Roose, claiming that this website, Power Hour HQ, is in violation of his trademark for the term “Power Hour”:

from Steve Roose <steve@powerhourgame.com>
to peteberg@gmail.com
cc legalteam@powerhourgame.com

Hi Peter,

Your entire website at www.powerhourhq.com is in violation of my trademark. You are sharing and promoting digital media with the term “Power Hour” of products that are not related to my company. This violates my trademark for “Power Hour” drinking games in the form of digital media. You are violating my trademark for “Power Hour” Serial Number 77805395 and Registration Number 3780534.

I will also be contacting viddler.com to have all videos removed.

Please remove any additional known content that infringes upon my company’s mark immediately. My legal team has been notified of this violation. Your expedited action and confirmation is appreciated. Any delay and continued infringement will result in legal action.

Steve Roose

Power Hour LLC
www.PowerHourGame.com
www.facebook.com/powerhour

Initial response: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Upon further inspection, I discovered that through some oversight in the trademark office, Steve Roose of “Power Hour, LLC” had indeed been granted the trademark for the words “Power Hour.” It went into effect on April 27th, 2010. (See the trademark here.)

Wait, what? How?

 

A little background on Steve Roose

Steve runs a series of spammy websites where he sells a power hour DVD and power hour software. The main one is PowerHourGame.com.

The power hours all feature a character called “The Beer Man” and are essentially just PowerPoint presentations that burp. The graphics are terrible, and there is no music or sound other than belching every sixty seconds. Anyone who has done any other video power hour will recognize immediately that this is a pathetic representation of our favorite drinking game.

A few years ago, Steve somehow managed to get his DVD into Spencer’s Gifts, and has also listed it for sale on Amazon.com for poor saps to buy. He claims he has sold a total of 20,000 copies — which is a complete tragedy.

Now that Steve has been granted this trademark, he’s trying to bully all other power hour websites into shutting down with legal threats. He threatened Power Hour HQ. He also started harassing Ali Spagnola, the artist and musician behind Ali Spagnola’s Power Hour Drinking Game. He’s trying to wipe out ALL the power hours off the Internet except his own!

Steve Roose is a sleazebag and a bully. He didn’t invent the power hour. The term was in wide use years before he started selling his terrible power hours. Now he’s trying to use an oversight by the trademark office to commandeer the term and force out any “competitors.” We believe that Steve Roose is wrong and doesn’t deserve to own OUR term. And we’re not going to stand by and let him ruin power hours for everyone else!

 

Why Steve’s trademark is bogus

The term “power hour” has been around for years and years, and was already widely used long before Steve Roose began marketing his products. He didn’t invent the term or the power hour game, he just created one variation of it. Lots of other people have created power hour music mixes, DVDs and software.

Trademark law states that “Registration of a mark that is merely descriptive should be refused.”

Additionally, trademark law prohibits the registration of terms that have become genericized. Millions of people already use the term “power hour” to refer to this game and have never even heard of Steve’s power hours. His claim to “Power Hour” as a brand name is bogus.

It’s like if I suddenly trademarked the word “Basketball” and tried to sue anyone who sold basketball jerseys or Michael Jordan videos!

(I suspect Steve’s application only managed to slip through because there aren’t many binge drinkers in the Trademark Dept.)

 

How do we fight it?

Luckily for drinkers everywhere, Ali Spagnola has hired a lawyer and has launched a campaign to get Steve Roose’s trademark rescinded!

Ali created her own original power hour, consisting of 60 original, one-minute songs about drinking. She sells her power hour as a DVD online, and she also performs live power hour concerts and sells an audio CD. Ali has put a lot of work and creative energy into her power hour, and she is fighting back.

Ali’s lawyer has already begun the legal paperwork and accumulated large amounts of evidence for refusal of the trademark. Ali has shelled out lots of her own money to pay for the legal expenses so far.

However, the estimated cost to file the lawsuit and rescue “Power Hour” back from Steve is a whopping $15,000. This is where you come in. Ali is accepting donations to help pay for the costs, but she can’t do it without your support. Even a few dollars will help, and if you donate more, she will send you things like signed copies of the DVD, or fly to your city and do a live power hour concert!

To find out more about Ali’s legal struggle (as well as some of the incentive to donate), you can read about it on her website.


Click this banner to help Ali save the Power Hour!

Donate if you can, and be sure to share this with all of your friends! You could even throw a power hour party as a fund raiser. 🙂

Also, you can feel free to NOT BUY Steve Roose’s products. That will help too!

 

What else can we do?

Well, first off, DON’T buy any of Steve’s power hours or products. Not only are they all TERRIBLE, but why would you want to support this jerk?

Secondly, you can use your free speech to help warn other consumers about how truly lame these products are.

Power Hour, LLC sells its power hours on several websites that allow public reviews and commenting. Feel free to check out the products and post your thoughts on them!

Please keep your reviews civil and make them about the quality of the products (not about this trademark issue)!

 

If we work together, we can save “Power Hour” for binge drinkers everywhere!

 

 

Comments (95)