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Hulu Translates To "Cease" and "Desist" in Swahili. Oops.

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Congratulations are in order to YouTube-competitor Hulu, which took just five months to come up with a name after announcing itself in March. CEO Jason Kilar says the name “captures the spirit of the service we’re building” in an open letter published today.

Just don’t translate that name to certain languages, because the name may capture significantly more of the spirit of the service than NBC and News Corp., the media giants behind Hulu, intended.

Hulu means “butt” in both Indonesian and Malay. But that’s nothing compared to Swahili, which 80 million or so people speak in sub-Saharan Africa. In Swahili, Hulu means, among other things, both “cease” and “desist.” See here as well.

Given the litigious nature of online video, that is some serious irony. And you can bet that Hulu, and its parent companies NBC and News Corp., are going to be sending out one heck of a lot of cease and desist letters as soon as this thing launches.

Perhaps they should have just stuck with Clown Co. after all. And someone should ask for a refund from the very expensive consultants that this billion dollar startup undoubtedly used to help them come up with a name.

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