Archive for Thursday, July 22, 2010

KU joins motion in support of trademark lawsuit filed by University of Alabama

July 22, 2010


Related document

University of Alabama amicus brief ( .PDF )

Kansas University is one of 27 schools coming to the aid of a fellow school ensnared in a long court battle over trademarks.

The 27 universities have filed a motion in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to submit a “friend of the court” brief in support of the University of Alabama.

That school sued Daniel Moore, a sports artist, alleging in 2005 that Moore violated trademark law in painting scenes from football games by showing Crimson Tide players in their crimson and white uniforms without permission.

“We just believe that we should support our fellow universities when they are in trademark licensing issues with individuals who we believe don’t want to play by the rules,” said KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony.

KU’s athletic corporation handles trademark and licensing arrangements for the university, so it is handling the legal action in this case.

A district court ruled against Moore, who previously had a licensing agreement with Alabama. The district court ruling disallowed his use of Alabama’s trademarks on items such as T-shirts and coffee mugs, but allowed the sale of Moore’s paintings. The university is appealing that decision.

Marchiony said KU got involved after being approached by the Collegiate Licensing Company, an Atlanta-based company that offers licensing protection services to more than 200 universities, including KU. The decision could have an impact on how KU could protect its own trademarks, Marchiony said, adding that the school has licensing agreements with artists that produce KU-related paintings.

In a statement, Bruce Siegal, general counsel for CLC, said the company has assisted universities like Alabama in the past.

“CLC assisted with organizing school participation in the brief,” Siegal said. “Such briefs are routinely filed in appellate cases by interested third parties to highlight the importance to others of the issues involved. In this case, the brief was filed to demonstrate the vital importance schools place on protecting their valuable trademark rights.”

Moore’s attorney, Stephen Heninger, was unavailable for comment, but told The Tuscaloosa News that he expected other sports artists to file a similar motion to support Moore’s case.

“I’m not overwhelmed by this,” Heninger told the newspaper. “ … None of those universities have an artist like Daniel Moore. We’re not talking about T-shirts. We’re talking about fine art.”

Attorneys representing the University of Alabama and officials at the school declined to comment.


friendlyjhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Wonder if Whistler paid copyright fees to paint his mother. And what about the Venus de Milo....................we all recognized her without her arms, did she get her blood money?

rgh 7 years, 4 months ago

I can understand if the guy is using Alabama logo's etc. on mugs and hats, but paintings of players in uniforms? Come on. No wonder KU joined the suit as a "friend." KUAC are thugs.

lionheart72661 7 years, 4 months ago

K.U. is one sue happy school. anything to jump on the bandwagon to sue someone or to help another school sue somebody. I think K.U. needs to clean up their own backyard first. Ie: the ticket scandal, fighting athletes, athletes shooting people with pellet guns. Need i go on. So UA is suing a guy over colors. So does that mean anyone that paints an athlete in their team colors get's sued. It happens every day. I hope the U of A loses their suit and all 27 universities involved get laughed out of court. I am sure there will be a sketch artist in the room I hope he puts crimson and blue on all the plaintiffs in the case!!! Sue him too...LOL

Majestic42 7 years, 4 months ago

They're especially weirdly protective of "their" logo. They won't even let the medical school in KC use the real Jayhawk.

Jeremiah Jefferson 7 years, 4 months ago

come on now, KU needs the money so they can pay the basketball team.

drnater 7 years, 4 months ago

Its called copyright for a reason. It is against the law. The sad thing is people laughed at folks such as Chuck Berry when the Beach Boys stole his music. People loved Elvis Pressley and the only thing that made him famous was stealing music from black artists. That too was once called obsene, but it was only obscene because Elvis surely wouldnt do that, neither would the beach boys. No way, some good looking white guys would ever do that! You guys need to get over it, it may not be fair but its the law of the land. Also isnt it money that makes the world go round? There might be a hint of jealousy on these comments because you didnt think of it to make money.

Bill Lee 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually the songwriters in question (or their heirs) continue to make money from Elvis and the Beach Boys covering their songs. The "crime" was that the original performers did not have the hits. Sometimes songwriters are not the best singers or do not get the promotion necessary to have hits. In the 50s most black artists had trouble getting airplay on mainstream Top 40 radio. They had the same trouble in the late 70s and early 80s with AOR (album oriented rock) radio on FM. Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire broke that barrier. Singing a song someone else wrote is not stealing. There are buildings in Nashville full of people who write songs for others to perform.

jehovah_bob 7 years, 4 months ago

Look at insert newest pop princess here he/she doesn't even sing the songs he/she didn't write.

drnater 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes in this instance it was stealing, you cant sing someone elses song without the rights to it. The Beach Boys stole the exact music from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and used it for their song "Surfin U.S.A." Elvis took songs that were written and composed by other artists, and used them for his own self benefit. This was before they came out with copyrighting things. So in other words singing a song someone else wrote is theft, and copyright infringement, unless you have permission to from the composer. Those buildings in Nashville make lots of money for the songs they write.

Jock Navels 7 years, 4 months ago

drnater...using another's music without paying the roylaties due is not the same as painting someone in a uniform...what if i paint a portrait of my father in his LL Bean jacket...can LLBean sue me? the court found that the paintings were okay...and they should be.

drnater 7 years, 4 months ago

no, this is where your wrong. there were no royalties, that is where it comes into play. if the guy from joe college can get sued for copyright infringement, then so can this guy. he is blatantly using the school colors(i believe joe college was no longer allowed to use ku colors either), and stadium for his own personal profit. is that not copyright infringement? can someone please tell me what the dictionary's definition is? I can only do so much from my phone at once.

ToriFreak13 7 years, 4 months ago

lol @ the fact Marchiony is bandwagon jumping after the fact...does he get it that the artist won the right to sell his paintings already? It's an appeal now...wooohoo KU gets their name in national news! lmao what a joke. Is he going to run around town raiding garage sales looking for "folk art" that infringes on the priceless trademarks? lol

pfunk81 7 years, 4 months ago

does Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics pay for the use of that Jayhawk in the ads on this site?

Bill Lee 7 years, 4 months ago

That's a great question! They bought the statue, but did they buy the commercial rights?

Danielle Brunin 7 years, 4 months ago

What about Jayhawk Dental? They should sue the crap out of that guy. Don't even get me started on the Jayhawk Motel. That's a real blight on the KU name! removes tongue from cheek

lionheart72661 7 years, 4 months ago

If you copyright a color does that mean you can get sued everytime you use it? if So every one of us are in for a lawsuit.. And yes KU is overprotective of their logo. professors cannot even use it on their letterheads. What a bunch of sue happy self rightous bunch of intellictual. idiots.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 4 months ago

It all depends on how you use the color. UPS owns the rights to a certain shade of brown. If you paint your house brown, no problem. If, however, you start a package delivery service and paint your delivery trucks that shade of brown you will be sued. This artist is using Auburn colors to make paintings of Auburn football players and he is making big profits as a result. Auburn has a legal claim. If they let him off the hook, other artists will stop paying royalties as well.

KU is not overprotective of the Jayhawk. They simply ask that people get permission and pay the licensing fee. A high school in Pennsylvania uses the Jayhawk as their mascot and KU only charges them $1 per year to use it. If they allowed people to use the Jayhawk without permission the logo could end up being misused in all sorts of circumstances. It could become the new KKK or NAMBLA mascot. The university has an obligation to insist on proper licensing to prevent that from happening. If you allow one group to use it with permission, it creates a legal precedent that would allow everyone else to use it without permission as well.

Majestic42 7 years, 4 months ago

So why won't the apparently benevolent KUAD let KUMed use the Jayhawk, oh wise one?

Catbacker 7 years, 4 months ago

Pretty sure artists have always been protected in these instances. It is the artist's interpretation of a product...not the actual "trademarked" product. Think Warhol's soup cans. Alabama's uniforms are so nondistinctive (no logos) that they really have no valid complaint, unless the painings include stadium writing distinct to Bryant-Denny Stadium, or the university.

Steve Miller 7 years, 4 months ago

Blah, Blah , Blah, Yap , Yap , Yap... booring !!!

Carol Bowen 7 years, 4 months ago

Looks to me like KU has too many lawyers. They have nothing better to do.

mkozak12 7 years, 4 months ago

KU’s athletic department is ridiculous. It is not one filled with tradition as it constantly preaches. I suppose the only real “tradition” they have been sticking to lately is generating massive amounts of money to pay its over compensated employees and suing anyone who crosses them in the slightest way. As a KU student I wish I could opt out of paying the fees for the athletic department because while the athletes are happy with their free tutoring, tuition, books, multimillion dollar work out facilities & boat houses and absurd quantities of free clothing the rest of the people attending the university are stuck footing this bill as tuition and fees keep rising and a lot of buildings on campus are falling apart.

Bud Stagg 7 years, 4 months ago

Does it matter if a copyrighted image is painted, printed, or sculpted? No. If you are using that image and benefitting from it, you must get permission from the owner. I'm curious, if the paintings are legal, are reprints? If I paint a jayhawk, can I sell the painting? probably not. If I take a panaramic pic of a football game at Memorial, I can't sell that without permission.

Keith 7 years, 4 months ago

Wait until the next time the LJW uses a photograph of football players in recognizable uniforms to sell newspapers. To be consistent, KUAC will have to sue them too.

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

Read the article again. KU isn't suing anybody. Auburn is.

Khublai_Juan 7 years, 4 months ago

Read the article again. Auburn isn't suing anybody, the University of Alabama is.

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

Ah, so it is. I stand corrected. I was misinformed after reading Haiku's comment above. In any case, KU isn't suing anyone regarding this article.

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

It is. Lol. If I had a dunce cap handy, I would be wearing it.

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

It is. Lol. If I had a dunce cap handy, I would be wearing it.

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