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Archive for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big, bad KU

December 23, 2008

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To the editor:

I think that what the University of Kansas is doing to Larry Sinks and his store, Joe-College.com, is absolutely disgusting. The courts have already made their decision in this case. KU got some money and Sinks had to stop printing over a quarter of his inventory, but it wasn’t enough for the boys on the Hill.

This latest rationale, as stated by the university’s attorney in Friday’s Journal World, that “When you have a company like Joe-College out there selling unlicensed merchandise, you are literally taking money away from students,” is a bunch of hogwash. They are trying to put a noble spin on their greedy motivation to completely crush one man’s business.

Like gangsters who go around to businesses extorting money for “protection,” the university wanted a piece of the pie that Sinks was baking with his generic T-shirts, which among students and Lawrence teens were becoming increasingly popular, but were nowhere close to outselling officially licensed KU apparel. But what the university doesn’t understand is that by trying to crush Sinks, they have actually turned him into a folk hero, a defiant local business owner standing up against the big, bad multi-billion-dollar entity that is the University of Kansas. Careful, KU, they make cheesy movies about this kind of thing. You wouldn’t want to turn Mr. Sinks into an Erin Brockovich of T-shirt selling, now would you?

Jeremy Winfrey,
Lawrence

Comments

JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

Surely someone has a place one can find out this information without having to deal with intimidation of even asking it to the sources. No?

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

Still waiting for links. Imagine it could be a long, long, wait.

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

Akreed what I'm suggesting is perhaps we need to seriously evaluate what the athletic department has been turning into and whether it isn't some what questionable to allow it to continue as is. Considering that as of yet there has been no links provided that lists where every dollar of these funds go to, most likely at that point it falls under the "auxiliary" unit that doesn't have to report to the public yet at the same time I'm sure they don't have to pay taxes on these funds like Joe College would need to. So we have an organization that makes money tax free, doesn't have to report to the public about all these scholarships they fund or whether we are talking about scholarships that go only to student/athletes. Plus all the money that is donated in the name of "education" that is mostly tax exempt by the giver who wins points for seats at the sporting events, just an other loophole perk of the rich that we see now is the SOP in this country today. At the same time the same university constantly applies for federal government grant money that comes from our taxes yet doesn't seem to do much to see that the taxes are paid unlike the small business man downtown who does have to pay taxes. Isn't it about time we do what we can to pay our debts and fund research and scholarship instead of creating major loopholes to continue developing sports to make more money for a non tax paying entity that doesn't even use Kansas business to run its business? Are we that stupid?

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 3 months ago

All valid musings JackRipper. I wouldn't disagree with the money going to the state though I'm sure it would be a hard sell considering the scholorships reported to be funded by them.Alas nothing in your reponse addresss the root issue for them pursuing litigation. The idea of the funds going to the state would even be hampered by the fact Joe-College is using trademarked material on his shirts for his own personal gain.It simply doesn't work that way. It's either your trademark or it's not. You don't get to use whatever you want just because the other guy has "enough money".

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

"Of course they wanted a piece, it is THEIR pie!!"Theirs? Hmmm let's see an organization that functions on State property, can use the State where they want here and when it comes to making money and other things function under the "not for profit" at other times, receive funds from donors which creates tax write offs for so call "educational" purposes, it makes me wonder, since it is operating under all these advantages granted by the state then we all own it especially if they own the word "KANSAS"! The State could use those profits now so maybe any profit the "family" makes should go to the State that creates all the opportunities for it to exist in the first place.

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 3 months ago

"...the university wanted a piece of the pie that Sinks was baking with his generic T-shirts."Of course they wanted a piece, it is THEIR pie!!Additionally, the t-shirts are not generic if they use copyrighted content on them.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 3 months ago

About the scholarships? How much money was garnered and how many people got what scholarships. thanks jack ripper for pointing out the issues, Don't count on the J/W reporting the facts. Dolph has to dine with Lou and the folks at KU. Lawrence is still small town, back alley politics.After all, it is just a stupid T shirt that ends up being a cleaing rag in the end. Why not print a shirt that can make reference but better yet, point out on the back of the shirt how many ways it can be use, auto waxing, toilet cleaning, rag rugs(tear the shirt into strips), pocket handkerchiefs, baby diapaers, the uses are endless. Don't buy the overpriced shirts and the problem is 75% solved.

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

Well we've heard it here by a KU supporter, KU's greatest assets are its name and trademarks. So much for its intellectual capital. It isn't as interested in being an institution of higher learning but a quasi State agency that is selling the school with its brand name like a Gucci purse. I see no one has provided a link or information on what type of scholarships come from all these shirt sales, amount actually given each year, and are they scholarships for student/athletes or academic/students. Since moving the office that handles trademarks under the athletic department which gets to operate in a world that isn't open like the State agency it serves how can we find out? Also it is interesting when you go to the website for KU athletics it isn't even on campus but provided in partnership with CBS and the online sales aren't sold in Kansas but elsewhere in the country. So the people who own "KANSAS" don't even operate in Kansas. You can demonstrate blind loyalty to Lou but shouldn't there at least be open access to all these wonderful uses by the university to the public as far as the scholarships and money from all the other various contracts that the chancellor seems most interested in since coming to Kansas? Is it any wonder the State tries to cut funds to the university when universities operate in the netherworld of operating "not for profit" branches that are off the radar as demonstrated when people were curious about Lou's salary. If there wasn't such a strong smell of rotting tuna maybe people wouldn't be so suspicious of "family" running the show.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 3 months ago

Did Coca-Cola sue?Are you saying that KU's "most valuable property" is a bigger deal than Coca-Cola's trademark is to them? A tad on the commercial side, aren't we?

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corduroypants 5 years, 3 months ago

KU is protecting their most valuable property—their name and trademarks. It's not a matter of David vs. Goliath, or for that matter, anything to do with sports. Sinks is infringing and he knows it. Hell, he even used part of the Coca-Cola logo for his own miserable Joe College logo. No one will notice right?

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

I didn't hear anything about the planets being in any kind of alignment tonight but maybe they are. I'm not sure but sounds like, if like the people who grabbed up all kind of internet names to sell to the big guys to use as their internet name, a smart move would be to trademark all kind of what seem like obvious public domain names! Who would have thought that an agency of the state could buy up the rights to the state's name. Maybe the fed's treasury department could trademark the USA and demand user fees too.

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 3 months ago

OMG,my computer nearly flamed out there: Jackie and nota actually agreed ...and, incredibly, I agree with them too! shizzayam!does somebody have "kansas river" copy righted, too? or "kansas skies?"

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

nota it is nice that we finally agree on something! lol. Actually a few other things and since it is Christmas time suppose I can be generous.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 3 months ago

If you go to the patent and trademark office's website and do a search, Jack, you'll see that KU does, indeed, have the word Kansas registered as a trademark on clothing. I agree with you that this is an abomination, but, unfortunately, legal.

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

You sure put me in my place confrontation. Gosh, are you glued to the tv tonight, apparently there is a ku game tonight, come on get your popcorn and large official drink of ku, a coke, and your adidas on so you can enjoy. Do you also partake in one of the largest beneficiaries of sports, the gambling industry? Have some bets on the game tonight?

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Confrontation 5 years, 3 months ago

Oh, Jacky, if only you'd pay attention. It'd make the world less lonely and confusing for you.

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry but how the hell does KU own the word KANSAS! Especially when on non-owned color of pink? Or any other string of words that don't saying University of Kansas. Are you people really so swept up by fanaticism over sports that you are willing to say the English language can be taken and owned like this? You sports people are really nuts!

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VTHawk 5 years, 3 months ago

I was originally with Sinks on this one, but I have completely changed my tune. If you all read any of the court documents, you would change your mind too. The most obvious point is that he got caught selling ILLEGAL shirts right after he was told to stop selling them. There isn't really any defense for that. He tried to get licensed by KU, but was denied, then started selling unlicensed merchandise of copyrighted material. KU, for all its faults, isn't the bad guy here.

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babyj10 5 years, 3 months ago

No one thinks about the other stores that follow the rules. It's not just about KU! Other local businesses that follow the rules and pay their royalties are being undercut on prices because of Sinks' violations. The fact that he doesn't pay royalties means he can sell his shirts for less. However these local stores cannot sue him because they do not own the trademark, KU does. How can you jump on the defense on just one local store with an owner who has a bad reputation in the business just because he's going up against the big, bad KU when in fact it's Sinks who is hurting local businesses with his actions?

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notajayhawk 5 years, 3 months ago

Cleopatra (Leslie Swearingen) says… "I went to KU, my granddaughter is going to graduate in the spring. I am offended by people making fun of the rock chalk chant which is one of the most evocative sounds there is."Be careful repeating it. I believe they have that copyrighted, too.

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JackRipper 5 years, 3 months ago

It is probably available somewhere but can't find it but how many scholarships are actually awarded each year, how much are they for, and what kind of students are receiving them? Academic or athletic types? Are kids who have proven themselves to be outstanding academics being awarded scholarships so they can afford the faster than inflation tuition hikes?

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blue73harley 5 years, 3 months ago

Graduating from KU is about as difficult as passing nap time in Kindergarten. It is much tougher to make it in the real world.

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california 5 years, 3 months ago

Larry deserves everything he is getting. Most people that know Larry understand that he is a "less-than-reputable" businessman. And, of course, he didn't (and probably couldn't) graduate from KU.

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BIGBEAR 5 years, 3 months ago

It did go to federal court, July, Judge Julie Robinson.All "copyright" issues go directly to federal courtGareth (Anonymous) says… KU was handed a gift-wrapped decision in the original trial by a know-nothing judge who has no concept of how copyright actually works. The decision is ridiculous — and if Sinks had more money, I'd recommend that he appeal and fight this — hopefully getting it to a Federal court where he can deal with folks who are versed in copyright laws.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

OhHai, I am just saying it very evocative to me. I love going to basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse with the rituals that we do. I am a member of Jayhawk Nation and I love the see the players. Oh, man, when they won the championship and Mario Chalmers hit that three to send the game into OT! That was one of most exciting moments of my life. I was not the only one. Come on, fess up, people! How many of you were on pins and needles during that game?

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OhHai 5 years, 3 months ago

"I am offended by people making fun of the rock chalk chant which is one of the most evocative sounds there is." Really? Evocative sounds. Really? It's a college chant that is usually done at SPORTING EVENTS THAT YOU AREN'T PLAYING IN! Really? This is why I dislike sports so very, very much.

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OlderThanMud 5 years, 3 months ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says… "This is easy, just keep supporting Joe College. I do. I haven't bought an over priced shirt from KU in over 10 years."This is the most rational post I've seen.

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tonythetiger 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 3 months ago

If the University had bigger shoulders, maybe they'd be less self-conscious about their apparent inability to fill out one of Larry's t-shirts.

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Confrontation 5 years, 3 months ago

So, just because Sinks is selling less than KU, that makes it okay to rip off the university? Stupid letter, stupid logic.

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local_support 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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tonythetiger 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Gareth 5 years, 3 months ago

KU was handed a gift-wrapped decision in the original trial by a know-nothing judge who has no concept of how copyright actually works. The decision is ridiculous -- and if Sinks had more money, I'd recommend that he appeal and fight this -- hopefully getting it to a Federal court where he can deal with folks who are versed in copyright laws.Otherwise, KU (or should I say "KU, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Kansas Athletics, Inc.") is setting a disturbing precedent for corporate rights-grabs, which could be used in other copyright cases.

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blue73harley 5 years, 3 months ago

I went to KU. I graduated from KU.KU (and Lew Perkins) suck.Too bad John Candy isn't around anymore. He would have made a great Mangino in a cheesy movie.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

Yawn, once more, guys I am trying to wake up here! I went to KU, my granddaughter is going to graduate in the spring. I am offended by people making fun of the rock chalk chant which is one of the most evocative sounds there is. Teddy Roosevelt said it was the best college chant after he came to Lawrence to dedicate the fountain that is in South Park and leaders of other countries have asked to hear it. Okay, so it isn't right up there with saying nasty things about Mary, but its close. I take my sports very, very, very seriously. Did Mangino put on weight this year? Seriously, he looks bigger than last year. I think jumping up and down when they won took off some weight.

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consumer1 5 years, 3 months ago

This is easy, just keep supporting Joe College. I do. I haven't bought an over priced shirt from KU in over 10 years. KU is the only one robbing money from students. with tuition increases every other year. It now takes five years to graduate from a four year college. Talk about extortion. You can't get the classes you need and are force to take crap classes until the ones you need open up. Yeah! KU is robbing the student body.

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chzypoof1 5 years, 3 months ago

Trobs is right. How can they add shirts AFTER the case is done? And another thing, that wasn't answered in the article...how is a shirt that says KANSAS a violation of copyright? That's a state, not a university. KU/Perkins are violating this guy's right to make a living, and he's done nothing to keep people from buying $45 adidas T shirts from KU.poof

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couranna1 5 years, 3 months ago

WTF what happened to freedom amurica

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 3 months ago

How about John Goodman after eating Joe Pesci as Mark Mangino? That would probably put him at the correct weight and appearance.

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CLARKKENT 5 years, 3 months ago

MAYBE THATS WHY LEW NEEDS AN NEW EMPLOYEE, SO SHE CAN GO TO THE STORE ON A DAILY BASIS.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 3 months ago

There never was a Joe College shirt in our house, and now, there never will be. I think the person with the poor pity me party is Sinks. "Big bad KU" is attacking him, but because he didn't follow the law.KU isn't the first college to do this, and won't be the last.

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jhawks1234 5 years, 3 months ago

will someone please explain how the t-shirt "our coach can eat your coach" was in any way a violation of ku's trademark.

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autie 5 years, 3 months ago

John Goodman would have to add some more pounds to his already large frame..need to find a spot for Joe Pesci in this lineup.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 3 months ago

"Careful, KU, they make cheesy movies about this kind of thing"-----------------------------------------------------------------Vince Vaughn as Larry Sinks.John Malkovich as Lew PerkinsJohn Goodman as Mark ManginoDick Cheney as Chancellor Hemenway

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KSChick1 5 years, 3 months ago

It's "rockchalkchickenhawk" but okay. If you're going to make fun of KU can you at least get it right?

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Trobs 5 years, 3 months ago

I am still confused. How was the judge able to add shirts to the banned list after the trial?

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Bruce Bertsch 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, but the license fees go to student scholarships, not hogwash. Mr. Sinks was found to be violating trademarks, and now he is violating again. Since he is violating a court order, he needs to be held responsible. There is a simple solution; obey the law. Sinks is no hero and his business is threatened only by his refusal to follow the law.

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