Amateur Artist Wants To Ban All Sales Of Old Baltimore Ravens Game Films Over Logo Copyright

from the this-is-what-copyright-law-does dept

Copycense points us to an ongoing lawsuit by a guy seeking to bar the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL from making use commercially of any game involving the Ravens from 1996 to 1998. At issue was that this guy claimed his logo design was copied by the team. A few years back, William Patry detailed the ridiculousness behind the original lawsuit and how it had resulted in many more ridiculous lawsuits:


Bouchat, a security guard in Baltimore, believed that the Baltimore Ravens had infringed a design he claims to have created for the team’s logo. He sued the team and the NFL’s licensing arm. In my opinion, there was no evidence of access and the thus the case should have been summarily dismissed. In my opinion, the case was a shakedown. But, applying the fatally flawed theory of striking similarity, the case went to a jury. The jury found liability, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed in an awful decision that drew an excellent dissent by Judge King, 228 F.3d 489 (4th Cir. 2000), amended by and pet. for reh’g en banc denied. 241 F.3d 350. Judge King’s dissent is the best thing yet written on why striking similarity is inherently inconsistent with basic copyright principles, and as to the facts in Bouchat, devastating to the plaintiff’s claim and the majority opinion.

While Bouchat “won,” he wasn’t given any money, because he had failed to register his design before it was put into use. But he’s since sued various other companies, and this latest lawsuit is an attempt to say that no one can show those old films because they use “his” logo, despite the lack of evidence of actual copying (which, if copyright were actually about copyright would be necessary). The lower court turned him down, noting that the use of the logo was incidental and fair use, but Bouchat is (of course) appealing. This is, again, in line with Patry’s analysis that this is nothing more than a shakedown. He’s not really interested in stopping the sale of these videos. He wants the team to pay him a big chunk of money so that it can keep selling the videos. This is not what copyright is intended to do, but it’s what happens when copyright law gets out of control.

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Comments on “Amateur Artist Wants To Ban All Sales Of Old Baltimore Ravens Game Films Over Logo Copyright”

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18 Comments
Dark Helmetsays:

Question

Why is it that the NFL, NBA, and MLB seem to have to deal with this garbage while the NHL continues to do a relatively wonderful job both courting fans and avoiding odd money grabs like this one. It’s really weird that the sport that is seen as the most violent and thuggish seems to have the fans and owners with the greatest sense of honor.

Dear GOD I hope M&M is going to write up a post on the awesome NHL broadcast CwF story I submitted. Mostly because the YouTube video is so hysterical….

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Re: Re: Question

“Wow, you said exactly what I said but without the mean-spirited condensing language. There’s probably a lesson in this somewhere.”

Well, yes, the NHL is far from the monster that the NFL and MLB are, but you guys both seem to be missing the fact that the NHL is posting record numbers this season and last, and all of that was done in a recession. As the countries 4th or 5th most popular sport, that seems fairly solid to me. Team values are all up, and the original six markets are growing by multiple percentage points, which in the midst of a recession is beyond solid. I’m not delusional about the popularity of hockey, but they certainly aren’t playing with chump changs:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AB33X20091112

Timsays:

He originally submitted his design in a contest that the Ravens had to design the logo. The Sun covered this pretty extensively when it happened. The guy and most everyone else in Baltimore was really surprised when the Ravens came out with their “own” design that looked almost just like his. Before this went to court all the guys asked for from the Ravens was an autographed football from the team. Nope! This could have all been avoided by some one in the Ravens PR department having a clue about how to connect to the fans.

Ima Shrimpsays:

Let's Slam Copyright

This is not what copyright is intended to do, but it’s what happens when copyright law gets out of control.

Mike, this is where you get off the rails again. You might have merit if the guy didn’t already have a judgement in his back pocket. He has one. Everything that happened from 1996 to 1998 was effectively in violation of his copyright.

With that judgement in hard, he has all the right to try to enforce his copyright (as was set by the courts). It is up to the courts to decide if his search for a remedy is valid or not. it isn’t copyright out of control, it is exactly what the system is suppose to stop: The use of copyrighted material without permission.

The lower court’s “fair use” ruling pretty much flies in the face of his previous winning judgement, so the appeal is pretty much a forgone conclusion.

oh yeah, a side note. Considering how you slam the other side, why do you not refer to William Patry as “copyright hating William Patry”. It would seem only fair, or do you want to leave that detail out?

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