Seems like there’s more to the controversy about the phrase ‘The nation wants to know’ than meets the eye.

What Goswami says

Arnab Goswami, former editor-in-chief of Times Group-owned news channel Times Now, released a sensational audio statement on Monday. Goswami claimed a “media house” is threatening him with legal action if he uses the phrase ‘The nation wants to know’ again. 

While it wasn’t a tough guess as to which media house the anchor was referring to (hint: It has the word Times in its name) the revelation had tongues wagging on the media group’s alleged high-handedness.

Arnab himself called it a “dirty trick” and an “attempt at intimidation” in the audio message insisting that the phrase “belongs to every citizen of the country”. This, even as people wondered whether claiming copyright on a phrase is ethical at all. 

But going by the response from the Times Group, it looks like ARG Outliers – of which Republic News is part of – may have concealed some facts rather conveniently. 

What the Times Group says

Turns out that Goswami’s newly formed media company also wanted a copyright on the phrase, which means others – you and us included – would have been restrained from using it as a tag line!

An unnamed spokesperson from the Times Network’ told Livemint

“ARG Outliers had filed for trademark for these and similar phrases which were already filed for and extensively used for years by Times Now. We have responded with a standard caution notice. He (Arnab) is just trying to gain soundbytes from it.”

Arnab Goswami is Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of ARG of which Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar is the biggest investor.

Newslaundry reports that it was Times Now that first applied for the phrase’s copyright soon after Goswami quit the channel in November. 

In January, Goswami sought to patent the phrases ‘The Nation Wants To Know’ and ‘Nation Wants To Know’ as the trademark of ARG Outlier Media and filed an application before the Comptroller General of Patents Design & Trade Marks. 

And that’s when the Times Group reportedly objected to it. An unnamed official from Times Now told Newslaundry that their legal notice is “a caution notice with our objection”.