Popular meme accounts lose social media pages after being reported by Authentic Media, which says it coined the phrase.
Worship Leader Probs was a meme account and podcast dedicated to the challenges of music ministry, but last week its creators revealed that they’ve lost social media pages and had to censor their brand due to a company claiming ownership to “two out of the three words” in their original name.
That company is Authentic Media, which runs a church resource called Worship Leader, once a print magazine and now available online. Authentic Media holds the trademark for “worship leader” and last year publicly stated that it planned “to continue to defend our trademark, as we have for decades.”
The dispute between Worship Leader and Worship Leader Probs dates back to October 2022, when Authentic Media explained its concerns about the name during a phone call with the creators of the meme account.
According to Joshua Swanson, editor in chief of Worship Leader and managing partner at Authentic Media, the company “woke up to the fact that people were using our brand,” and in 2022, he and others at Authentic Media became particularly concerned about brand confusion with Worship Leader Probs.
“It became a material issue for us. Our mission and their mission do not align,” Swanson told CT. “It became a major conflict. We would be at events, and people thought we were them and they were us.”
The phone call last fall did not resolve things, and after months at an impasse, Authentic Media began reporting Worship Leader Probs’ social media accounts for trademark infringement in February 2023.
Before losing its accounts, Worship Leader Probs had 15,000 followers on Facebook and 45,000 followers on TikTok. …