Thursday, March 30, 2006

Intellectual Property

Do you think people or companies should be able to trademark words or phrases? Personally I think that is crossing the line of freedom of speech (with the exception of blatant plagiarism, of course). I found an article listing some of the more absurd cases of so called "intellectual property" trespasses:

A DAY AFTER Senator Orrin Hatch said "destroying their machines" might be the only way to stop illegal downloaders, unlicensed software was discovered on his website.
(I wonder if he destroyed his machine as punishment...)

MICROSOFT UK held a contest for the best film on "intellectual property theft"; finalists had to sign away "all intellectual property rights" on "terms acceptable to Microsoft."
Why does not not surprise me in the least?

NEARLY 20% of the 23,688 known human genes are patented in the United States. Private companies hold 63% of those patents.

They'll soon be suing us if we are born with one of their patented genes.

FOR INCLUDING a 60-second piece of silence on their album, the Planets were threatened with a lawsuit by the estate of composer John Cage, which said theyd ripped off his silent work, 4'33". The Planets countered that the estate failed to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds in Cage's piece had been pilfered.
I love the comeback on this one.. I don't know if they won or not. I need to look into this one.

RENTAMARK.COM makes money by claiming ownership of 10,000 phrases, including "chutzpah," "casual Fridays," ".com," "fraud investigation," and "big breasts."
I think they show a lot of chutzpah.. my big breasts are heaving at the injustice. There should be a fraud investigation beginning on casual Friday. .com (I had to fit that in there.)

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'s estate charges academic authors $50 for each sentence of the "I Have a Dream" speech that they reprint.
$50 per sentence eh... do you have to pay for each time you use the same sentence or is it $50 for each one sentence that you are free to use over and over and over again? Even civil rights heroes end up money grubbing, I suppose.

The full article can be found here.


Sassan Sanei said...

That's pretty funny. Earlier today, I noticed on the back of a "Baby Einstein" book that ALBERT EINSTEIN is a trademark of The Hewbrew University of Jerusalem. Amazing!

In all fairness to John Cage though, the Planets did credit him on their album liner for the 60 seconds of silence (as a joke or a tribute - who knows which?). It's not like his estate went after a random piece of silence on an album.

I believe the law allows you to trademark phrases that are specific to an industry. For example, the name Apple is trademarked in the computer industry, but that doesn't prohibit a grocery store from calling their apples apples. That said, Apple the computer company was just sued by Apple the record company (the Beatles label) for selling music online through their iTunes shop. That will be an interesting case to watch.

Oh and just so you know, I've gone ahead and trademarked the word Boondoggled.

Just D said...

Going to sue me for improper use?

markoos said...

i heard about the apple case. it's an interesting one indeed.

go here ( to see a good cartoon on the topic of the copyright for the word 'superhero'. heh heh.

Just D said...

lol.. that was great Markoos.

Sassan Sanei said...

Sue you for improper use? Puh-leeze, that is so 2005...

No, what I'm going to do is sit back and wait until your blog is an international sensation that brings in millions of dollars of revenue each year through advertising and T-shirt sales. You are already ranked #1 in Google for the word, so this is only a matter of time.

Then I'm going to apply for an injunction to shut down your site for trademark infringement.

Then I will offer not to have the injunction enforced if you pay me a recurring licensing fee for future use, as well as a lump-sum payment to cover past infringement.

Backed into a corner, you will reluctantly agree to this extortion, only to realize that nothing in our agreement prevents me from subsequently suing all of your blog readers, one by one, for having visited your site and semi-permanently storing the infringed trademark in their browser cache.

Once I get through with them, I will use the proceeds to go after the real money: your ISP.

And then you will understand the real meaning of the word Boondoggled™.


Just D said...

I'm the #1 Google search for Boondoggled???

OMG that is soooooooooo cool!!

Yay me. hehe

Just D said...

Oh, and just FYI.. I'm a contrary bitch. I'd just shut her down and move to Borneo.