Where We Get a Cease and Desist Letter from NBCUniversal for Yesterday’s Downton Abbey Article

Well, now we’ve hit the big times. We just received a Cease and Desist letter from NBCUniversal in regards to the article we wrote yesterday about Downton Abbey.

For those that missed it, we wrote an article about how you can watch the new season of Downton Abbey, which starts Sunday in the UK, before it airs in the USA. We included a handy infographic that summarized all the ways. It was a very popular article – Downton fans are pissed that we have to wait until January, when the show will be completely spoiled by then by this thing called THE INTERNET.

Downton Abbey is produced by Carnival Films, which is a wholly own subsidiary of NBCUniversal. Bet you didn’t know your favorite British costume Drama is made by NBC!

Now, they would prefer you didn’t know that Downton is airing in the UK starting this weekend. So, as a result, they sent us this letter:

Notice of Copyright Infringement

Dear Sir/Madam:

NBCUniversal and/or its subsidiary and affiliated companies (collectively, NBCUniversal) are the owners of intellectual property rights in numerous television shows and motion pictures.  NBCUniversal diligently enforces such intellectual property rights.

Netdna-cdn.com is and has been infringing NBCUniversal’s intellectual property rights in numerous properties including, but not limited to, the non-exhaustive, representative list of title(s) appearing at the bottom of this letter. For each listed title, one or more of the URLs (links) assigned by Netdna-cdn.com to the listed titles, are also provided.  NBCUniversal demands that Netdna-cdn.com immediately remove or otherwise disable access to all links identified in this letter, to any and all other links assigned by Netdna-cdn.com to the listed titles, and to the content files to which the links relate.  NBCUniversal further demands that Netdna-cdn.com immediately cease and desist from any further infringement of NBCUniversal properties, including those identified herein.

The undersigned has a good faith belief that Netdna-cdn.com’s use of NBCUniversal property as referenced herein infringes NBCUniversal’s rights and is not authorized by NBCUniversal, its agent or the law.  The information contained in this notification is accurate.  Under penalty of perjury, the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of NBCUniversal with respect to this matter.

Please be advised that this letter is not a complete statement of the facts or law as it may pertain to this matter, or of NBCUniversal’s positions, rights or remedies, legal or equitable, all of which are specifically reserved.

Very truly yours

Anti-Piracy Technical Operations

(NetDNA is related to where out site is hosted)

They sent a list of files they objected to, one being the series 4 cast promo pic (god forbid you see that now!) and our fancy infographic.

Now, in all fairness we did use a Downton promo image in the infographic and while this should fall under the Fair Use Doctrine, NBCUniversal disagrees, because they don’t want you to know how to watch the show early. We’ve used countless Downton images before and never received a message like this before. They have a problem with our content itself.

As we don’t have the resources for another legal battle, we decided to simply comply and remove the images that bother them so much.

So, we’ve altered them, stripping all mention of Downton from them and henceforth we will try to refer to Downton Abbey as “The Stately Home Show.”

Update: After consultation with Anglotopia’s counsel, we’ve decided to err on the side of caution and remove the infographic and the previous article. Telling you where to get the show is in itself a form of copyright infringement. So, we’ll just say that you can watch Downton in advance if you look hard enough and let’s leave it at that.

Read More at Anglotopia


  1. avatar says

    Perhaps if they don’t want Americans watching it early, they should take a tack from BBC America and rethink how long they take to reair shows. Then again, NBC Universal has historically had issues with the whole UK/US thing. Look at what they did with the Jubilee concert (cutting out almost all of the British acts), Olympics time delays, and their horrible history (aside from The Office) of remaking UK shows.

  2. avatarLexi says

    love the snark! keep doing what you’re doing. do they really think people aren’t going to be doing this regardless?

  3. avatarLynda says

    What twits they are! The majority of British ex-pats KNOW how to watch shows early, and not have to wait until they deign to show it here (Canada) If we didn’t then we would have to cease all discussion about shows with our relatives & friends in England!!
    Total nonsense…. Why don’t they just get with the times and air the show at the same time in all countries that they service.
    And they really should stop making remakes of British shows that are well loved, it’s awful the hash they manage to make of them…….

  4. avatar says

    In this day and age it really is ridiculous that they are not airing a show as popular as this at the same time in the US and UK. I know there are going to be so many people annoyed as how on earth are we going to avoid the spoilers? So annoying! And sorry you had to deal with this!

  5. avatarLeontyne says

    Sorry about their silly little letter. People always find ways of viewing what they really want. If they were smart they would make it available to both places at the same time hence more viewers and make it more popular. The same happened with Doctor Who. The episodes were something like 6 months apart.

  6. avatarPhil says

    Wow and woohoo! Looks you guys made it.
    If the Unnamed show is made by NBC, I wonder why NBC doesn’t show it on their main network? They could certainly do with a show that people would actually watch. That said, I am looking forward to The Black List. Maybe I can’t say Black List? So I’ll call it the Dark Grey Register.

    • avatar says

      I’m sure they’d love to. But they acquired the company making Downton after it became a hit, and it’s locked in contracts with PBS. They won’t make the same mistake again!

  7. avatarRoxanne Stickler says

    Silly me – I thought the show was a product of ITV or BBC or one of those other well-known UK productions companies. I wonder if NBC is jumping on PBS for posting items about that show? or whoever posts under the “Downton Abbey” name on Facebook?? It’s not like we fans don’t know when it’s airing, for Pete’s sake!

  8. avatarCaroline Barrett says

    When the “who shot JR?” episode of Dallas aired in the US they had to air it at the same time in England because do many people had placed bets on it (we English will bet in anything!)

  9. avatar says

    I doubt if this will ever happen again,but our local DVD rental store,had Downtown Abbey,series three,three months before it even came out on Australian TV.We for some reason,get all shows from the UK several months after the UK release date.So can you blame us for downloading from the Net.Just because we are so far away from the rest of the world,do we have to be treated like a third world Country ?…Still if the powers that be,want to lose money,its up to them,I Guess.

  10. avatarjohn q public says

    I’ve seen the first episode of season 4, and it is boring and silly, and full of the usual preposterous.and repetitious dialogue. They seem to feel compelled to recap plot points after every commercial break, like you got amnesia or something.

    You’re not missing anything!

  11. avatardeborah cunningham says

    Flash to NBCUniversal: The world is flat. There IS technology. US and England talk to each other.
    Oh bother. They should release them at the same time. As if we haven’t gone global and friends can;t send from England. Besides, every college kid (including some I know) have been watching them early all along. NBC a clunky network run by old men. So, where can we view The Stately Old Home Show early?

  12. avatarJemla says

    Interesting. We normally travel to the UK every year in October for several weeks so we always see at least 3 episodes of Downton while it is on over there. This year we are traveling to the East Coast instead so we will miss seeing it.
    However, I have one friend in the U.K. who has even offered to set up their Ipad and record it for me then send it my way….or I can watch it along with them. Only issue being….yes the 6 hour time difference. Humm.
    I can’t stand NBC and never watch any of their shows. So yes, what a surprise this is.

  13. avatarLeigh Ann says

    This is silly! I can’t believe they think that if people want to find a way to watch, they couldn’t do it without your help. Like NBC Universal doesn’t have bigger fish to fry.
    I love these newsletters and I definitely wish I could operate a website for my full time job! I’m thinking working for myself is definitely the way to go! haha I would be a really good employee-friendly boss to myself! Keep up the interesting articles and great contests to enter! One day I just might win one!