New York City’s famous Naked Cowboy wants a bikini-clad woman who calls herself ‘The Naked Cowgirl’ to stop ripping off his trademark, and he’s threatening to lasso her into court for as much as $150,000.
The Times Square cowboy, whose real name is Robert Burck, is known for strumming his guitar wearing only briefs and a cowboy hat. He has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sandy Kane, who wears a red, white and blue cowboy hat and matching bikini.
“Your use of Naked Cowgirl is essentially identical to the Naked Cowboy and is clearly in violation” of Burck’s trademark, read the letter. Burck is demanding that Kane – who began appearing in Times Square several years ago – either stop making money off of his trademark or sign a “Naked Cowboy Franchise Agreement.”
“If she’s going to sell stuff and make money off of it, then, yeah, she’s going to have to pay,” Burck said. Most licensed franchisees are required to fork over $5,000 for a year or $500 a month and go through a screening process to ape the Naked Cowboy’s act.
But Burck’s manager, Todd Rubenstein, said they would be willing to negotiate an individual deal with Kane. Another woman who bills herself as the Naked Cowgirl, Louisa Holmlund, is a licensed franchisee, according to Rubenstein.
Kane, who is in her 50s, is a former stripper who’s now a fixture of the city comedy scene. Her real name is Sandra Brodsky. She says she doesn’t owe Burck anything. “I’ve been naked for years,” said Kane, who hosted a raunchy public-access comedy program called the “Sandy Kane Blew Show” for more than a decade.
“You know how much money I make? Two dollars a picture. I’m not selling any products.” She said she had once had a good relationship with the Naked Cowboy and had, in fact, asked him to sing a duet with her.
Burck was willing to do it, both sides agree, but he wanted her to sign a franchise agreement. She balked and recorded the song with a male counterpart she called “The Cowboy.”
That prompted Burck to fire off the cease-and-desist letter. But Kane said that it was no big deal and that she hasn’t sold a single copy of the song. “The song ain’t going anywhere anyways,” Kane said. “It’s not like he’s Tim McGraw or Keith Urban.” [via Yahoo News]