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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Suing Michelangelo

Intellectual property rights have gone nuts lately. We're patenting tax advice these days. And big universities are throwing their weight around on copyright issues involving their sports teams. Here's a particularly pathetic example.

Some things are bigger than money -- or at least, they should be.

Comments (7)

Willamette Farms --they happen to have been located on the Willamette for years, gets slapped with a copyright infrangement when they put their own name on their wine label.

Back when I was at the UofO, a little sandwich shop called itself the Oregon Grinder. They were shut down by the Organ Grinder pizza shop in Portland. (itself now long gone.)

Well...Oregon does sound like organ, right? And "Willamette" is obviously copyrightable?

Craziness...and small business folds when they get that attorney letter, because they can't afford the fight.

Andy Griffith just sued a guy who changed his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith and ran for Sheriff of a small Wisconsin town....

Citing what damage, I haven't a clue...

Frank: Geographical names on trademarks is an insanely complicated issue.

This crimson tide thing though, bleh.

1) No way would Michelangelo do Precious Memory oil paintings of meaningful football moments. 2) Even if, for the sake of argument, he did, he still wouldn't. 3) This is more like Detroit Pizza suing Dale Chihuly.

Hopefully stuff like this will make clear the madness that is US IP law and lead to reform. Until then, it's at least good for quite a few rueful laughs and maybe a few tear-flavored beers.

Every time I see one of these nonsense suits, I cross another company or institution off my list. Not that I'm ever going to enroll at Alabama, or send an offspring there, but I stopped buying Tillamook cheese when they went after a smaller business called Tillamook Country Beef or something like that. And I haven't set foot in a Starbucks since they sued some little coffee house in Astoria where the owner was basically using her own name, which was vaguely similar to Starbucks.

These companies probably haven't notice, even though I purchase a lot of cheese and coffee.

Am I missing something here? The artist has been doing this for about 27 years . . . aren't the university's lawyers a little slow on the the ole legal trigger? I thought there was something called sleeping on your rights. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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