Binn There, Done That

Without actually seeing the first issue, we already know something about the imminent arrival -- officially today I guess -- of Boston Common, the glossy luxury lifestyle magazine published by Jason Binn and his Niche Media company.

It's been good for lawyers and gossip columnists.

Lawyers, because on his way into town, Binn had two notable legal dustups. First, in initially planning to call his magazine Boston Commonwealth, he ran afoul of CommonWealth magazine, the nine-year-old policy quarterly published by the nonprofit think tank MassINC. After MassINC filed a trademark infringment suit, Niche Media resolved matters by changing its name to Boston Common.

Next, Niche found itself being sued by the parent company of soon-to-be competitor Boston magazine, which alleged that three former Boston staffers who went to work for Boston Common stole a protected database with the names of thousands of advertisers.

That dispute was also settled later in what a Boston magazine statement called an "amicable resolution" that included a Binn acknowledgement that the use of the advertising contacts, "took place without his knowledge and in violation of Niche Media policies and procedures."

Boston Common is also good for gossip columnists because Niche Media and Binn love celebrites and parties and are kicking off the Boston launch with a soiree tonight featuring the first issue cover boy and ubiquitous Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler.

It'd be nice to describe what the inaugural 352-page issue of the magazine is like. But strangely enough, Niche has declined to let anyone (or at least Media Log) see the magazine before its official release, although it was happy to share the names of its many celebrity contributors -- including Jay Leno, Alan Dershowitz and Danny Ainge.

If it follows the pattern of Niche's other glossies -- Aspen Peak, Hamptons, Gotham and Los Angeles Confidential -- Boston Common will be very slick, incredibly pretty, chock full of advertising dollars and largely devoid of meaningful content. But God knows, Boston isn't Aspen -- so let's wait and see.

In the meantime, litigators and paparazzi already owe Boston Common a debt of gratitude.
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