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WMATA Demands Spoof Dating Site to "Cease and Desist" | News

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WMATA Demands Spoof Dating Site to "Cease and Desist"

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is not feeling the love from a local parody dating site, "MetroHotCars.com." 

WMATA is demanding that the dating website, spoofing the DC area Metro, take down its "M" logo and any other logo affiliated with the transit authority. 

In a letter obtained by Debra Alfarone, WMATA says: "WMATA demands that you immediately cease and desist using our intellectual property (the M Logo and SmartBenefits marks) without our permission. Specifically, WMATA demands that you immediately remove the M logo and Smartbenefits reference from your website," the letter to Kyle Conrad and James Grierson said. 

Kyle Conrad is a creative design type based out of Northwest D.C. He got the idea for his website, MetroHotCars.com, and rolled with it.

He says the thought just came to him, "That would make such a terrible dating website, like the cheesiest dating website name, and then when the news came out that Prague was doing a singles car, I thought now I have to make this real." So, he did.

To be clear, it's a parody dating site: it's not real. It's a tongue-in-cheek dig at Metro, offering love opportunities amid the minor commuting inconveniences of life.

WMATA definitely doesn't think the website is funny, and the threat of a lawsuit is pending, according to the letter. 

"If WMATA does not receive a letter confirming your compliance by the close of business on June 14, 2013, we will proceed with necessary steps to force your compliance and obtain compensation for these infringements."

The letter was signed by Mark R. Pohl, Associate General Counsel for WMATA. 

We asked Conrad if he was going to change the logo. His reply? "We'll see....I'm going to play it close, but I fully intend to comply with the letter of the law as they see it."

People we talked to on the streets of D.C. sided with WMATA. Miata Caine of Silver Spring said, "I believe they're infringing on Metro's copywritten logo and they're also benefitting from Metro's services and Metro's work."