Slay in Your Lane co-author Yomi Adegoke has accused BBC Sport of plagiarism, claiming the BBC "ripped off" the title of her and Elizabeth Uviebinené's Fourth Estate book in a sports advertising campaign.
BBC Sport launched its #ChangeTheGame campaign last week with a TV advert and billboards across the country created by in-house agency BBC Creative. An image of runner Dina Asher-Smith in front of the slogan 'Slay in Your Lane' for the London Anniversary Games sparked the row.
Slay in Your Lane, a "guide to life", was published by Fourth Estate last spring following a nine-publisher auction. It went on to be shortlisted for Lifestyle Book of the Year at the British Book Awards as well as garnering many other accolades. Fourth Estate plans to publish two more Slay in Your Lane titles following the success of the first book by Adegoke and Uviebinené. It has sold 14,605 copies in hardback since July last year, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Blake Friedmann Literary TV & Film Agency registered the trademark for Slay in Your Lane in the UK in July 2018, preventing it being used in marketing, advertising and promotional services.
In a Twitter thread Adegoke said "nothing has been done" despite contacting the BBC, as she stressed the trademark covers advertising. The BBC says it "sought legal advice" before going ahead with the billboards. The billboards which use 'Slay in Your Lane' are due to be taken down later today as part of a planned removal.
Adegoke tweeted: "Imagine being a white woman creating an 'eMpOwErInG WoMeNs' ad campaign for @BBCSport, and choosing to rip off the *TRADEMARKED* name of a book specifically aimed at uplifting black women (in an almost identical font).
"Make no mistake: this has happened because they have a) arrogantly assumed we wouldn't have it trademarked and b) that we would for some reason be grateful at this plagiarism disguised as a nod. We contacted the woman in question and @BBCSport privately but nothing has been done.
"Our trademark covers everything, including advertising. You'd think there would be some urgency as it's a legal matter but they are chilling! Imagine them putting 'Just Do It' underneath. And fronting it with a black British woman, knowing the content of our book.
"All I can say is black creatives, TRADEMARK YOUR S**T. I mean, it won't actually stop white women ripping you off and big organisations stealing your s**t, but at least you can drag their clarts to court!!!"
A BBC spokeswoman told The Bookseller: “The BBC sought legal advice before going ahead and were advised that the use of the headline “Slay In Your Lane” in our Women in Sport #ChangeTheGame marketing campaign was sufficiently far removed from the goods and services covered by the trademark registration in place.”
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