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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Spike sues over channel name
Spike Lee
Lee believes viewers would associate the channel with him
Director Spike Lee has sued US media giant Viacom over plans to rename a cable channel Spike TV.

Viacom says it wants to make the name change in order to attract more male viewers.

Lee has asked for an injunction against Viacom's use of the name Spike, saying he had never given his consent for it to be used.

Viacom said it was confident that the court would reject Lee's legal claim to "the popular word and name Spike", to allow it to relaunch its TNN channel under the new name.

According to Lee, TNN president Albie Hecht has said the public associates the name Spike with Lee.

In court papers filed on Tuesday, the film-maker said: "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious - that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee."

Lee - real name Shelton Jackson Lee - has included affidavits from actors Ed Norton and Ossie Davis and former senator Bill Bradley.

The signatories said they had thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV and believed he had become affiliated with the network.

Viacom, which also owns broadcasters such as CBS, MTV, and VH1, has been directed by the judge to explain why it should not be barred from using the name.

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