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#459801 - 02/23/01 01:40 PM Potter Boycott
Pat ONeill Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 3064
Loc: PA, USA
Y'know, this whole tempest in a teapot reminds me of the occasional stories about local mom-n-pop daycare centers or nursery schools that get cease-and-desist letters from Disney about using Mickey, Minnie and Donald in ads or as outside decorations.

What the people in these cases--and that includes those in the Potter contretemps--do not understand is that trademark law requires a vigorous defense against all transgressors, no matter how small, insignificant, or unprofitable. If you permit "Little Mama's Bergen County Nursery" to use your trademarks without permission or remuneration, then you will have great difficulty (some TM attorneys would say it's impossible) in preventing "International Franchise Nursery Schools, Inc." from doing the same thing.
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#459802 - 02/23/01 07:17 PM Re: Potter Boycott
NatGertler Offline
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Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
What the people in these cases--and that includes those in the Potter contretemps--do not understand is that trademark law requires a vigorous defense against all transgressors, no matter how small, insignificant, or unprofitable.
I don't know that they don't understand that. What I do know is that some rights-holders have found other ways of dealing with these situations, finding ways to grant permission rather than to protest the lack of it. The fans may well recognize that.
Having said that, I do side with the company in this type of matter.

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#459803 - 02/23/01 08:57 PM Re: Potter Boycott
Howard Offline
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Registered: 06/21/00
Posts: 882
I think the Potter fan sites would find themselves within the rights of the law if the owners actually had the desire to try it in court. The ones I've seen mostly talk about how much they liked the last book and how much they're looking forward to the next one and what they've heard about it so far. As I understand it, that seems within the boundaries of "fair use."

It's not like they're writing and selling stories about a young, tossle-haired, eyeglass wearing teenager who's spending his adolescence learning about magic (No, DC is doing that--but since they came first, and both properties are now owned by Warners, that's a moot point.)
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#459804 - 02/23/01 09:26 PM Re: Potter Boycott
John Boren Offline
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Registered: 02/18/99
Posts: 43
Loc: las cruces, NM USA
Pat said:

Quote:
What the people in these cases--and that includes those in the Potter contretemps--do not understand is that trademark law requires a vigorous defense against all transgressors, no matter how small, insignificant, or unprofitable. If you permit "Little Mama's Bergen County Nursery" to use your trademarks without permission or remuneration, then you will have great difficulty (some TM attorneys would say it's impossible) in preventing "International Franchise Nursery Schools, Inc." from doing the same thing.


What the owners of this 'intellectual property' ( a hideous phrase ) don't understand is that ordinary people don't think in terms of trademarks or "permission and renumeration".

Normal people don't send arrogant and threating cease-and-desist letters to children.

If somebody starts making bootleg videos or t-shirts of Mickey Mouse, fine, I can see how they're stealing money from Disney's pockets. But how is it stealing when some nursery school teacher traces a picture of Mickey Mouse on her classroom wall? She's not doing it to steal from Disney, for christ's sake, she's doing it because she and her little rugrats like the damn mouse!

Monolithic corporations like Warner Brothers and Disney, with their armies of litigating zombies, get zero sympathy from me. Maybe if they started acting like human beings and not soulless automatons, they might get a little more understanding.

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#459805 - 02/23/01 10:28 PM Re: Potter Boycott
toddfrye Offline
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Registered: 03/29/99
Posts: 244
Loc: Harrogate TN USA
There's certainly room for corporations to be more enlightened about such things.

Dave Sim, to his credit, allows use of Cerebus on comic store windows, among other uses.
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#459806 - 02/23/01 10:55 PM Re: Potter Boycott
Jamie Coville Offline
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Registered: 01/23/99
Posts: 660
Yeah, there seems to be an area between all out legal battle and open stealing. DC & Marvel are probably well aware of people making fansites, drawing pictures of their characters for the fansites, writing fanfic, maybe even having related domain names, etc.. all sorts of stuff that's technically illegal, but they let it go. It's about as serious as Jaywalking.

Call me crazy, but I think a Judge or Jury could tell the difference too. If the companies are really nervous, they should just send out legal papers giving these people permission to run fansites with all the legal jargon defining what that is. And also letting them know they can't use the site for business purposes.



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#459807 - 02/24/01 09:24 AM Re: Potter Boycott
NatGertler Offline
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Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
I think the Potter fan sites would find themselves within the rights of the law if the owners actually had the desire to try it in court. The ones I've seen mostly talk about how much they liked the last book and how much they're looking forward to the next one and what they've heard about it so far.
Except that I've yet to see the rightsholders go after anyone's content. What they've been going after is people who purchase Harry Potter domain names, effectively putting out online publications with Harry Potter titles, promoting their site using the Harry Potter name.
Quote:
But how is it stealing when some nursery school teacher traces a picture of Mickey Mouse on her classroom wall?
The visible Disney versus schools case that comes to mind was for a place that had unauthorized Disney art on the outside of the building; that effectively serves as advertisement to the school. The Disney characters have a lot of good will, and Disney presumably makes huge piles of money off of the additional interest people have in items with Mickey on them.

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#459808 - 02/24/01 10:44 AM Re: Potter Boycott
brent Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 11
Yeah, as if these C+D letters have done a whole hell of a lot of good. Fox has done it a number of times and so has Paramount, and guess what? You still find a bunch of sites using X-Files, Buffy, and Star Trek stuff. It's stopped content to a certain extent, but not much.

Until a case goes to court, the companies are not going to stop this. Besides, it seems kind of stupid to pick on fans putting up websites. I mean, you want these people on your side, not against you for when you do come up against a big company.

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#459809 - 02/24/01 11:55 AM Re: Potter Boycott
NatGertler Offline
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Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
Besides, it seems kind of stupid to pick on fans putting up websites.
Defending your trademarks by telling folks to stop using them (which is no more "picking on" someone than asking someone to stop standing on your foot is) is not stupid. It's legally necessary if you want to maintain a trademark.

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#459810 - 02/24/01 02:39 PM Re: Potter Boycott
Howard Offline
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Registered: 06/21/00
Posts: 882
So what you're saying, Nat, is that it's okay to have a Harry Potter fan site, but you can't call it a "Harry Potter Fan Site." Do I have it right? Because I can kind of understand that. The content is within fair use, but the title imfringes. So you could call the same content a "Fictitious Young Magician's Fan Site" and be okay?
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