Texas festival South By Southwest has shut down a plan by the ACT’s Labor Government to start a similar festival of their own dubbed South By Southeast.
The ACT will go to the polls next weekend to decide whether they are going to remain with their Labor Government, and one of Labor’s plans to woo voters was to start a festival similar to SXSW which showcases innovation, culture, music and film, but it looks like that won’t be happening, at least under the name the Government has suggested.
As The Canberra Times reports, the name of the festival has already been stopped in its tracks by South By Southwest, who claim it is a breach of their trademark.
SXSW’s Australian representative Phil Tripp caught wind of Labor’s plans and got on the phone to let them know they’d be breaching copyright if they called the festival South By Southeast.
“We just don’t want any confusion with our trademark. That’s it, just a friendly conversation, no legal letters, no injunction, no solicitors,” he says.
“We’re not angry, we’re cool with what’s going on. With trademarks, you have to assert your rights. Basically, if someone starts using your brand, you’ve got to let them know, otherwise you can lose your right to protection.”
A Labor spokesperson has responded publicly to the claim and said that all trademarks will be respected. They also said that the government are, “big fans of SXSW” and would like a festival with “the same spirit” in Canberra. It’s unknown at this stage when Labor plans to start the festival should they win the election next weekend.
It’s somewhat hard to imagine Canberra emulating the scale of South By Southwest, which sees around 30,000 people attend the music component of the event every year. That’s on top of luring around 2,000 acts down to the south of the US.
Canberra’s festival scene is, however, picking up. It already hosts a leg of Groovin The Moo each year and in December it will play host to the first ever Spilt Milk festival, headlined by Flume.
South By Southwest 2017 runs for 10 days in March, and artist applications are open until 22nd October 2016.
Watch: What Is SXSW?