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Subject: SCOTUS is 'FUCT'ed' up over copyright case rss

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J.D. Hall
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Blame this on The Slants:

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/16/713632552/supreme-court-dance...

To explain my first sentence:
Quote:
Brunetti's case got a boost two years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that an Asian-American band calling itself "The Slants" could not be denied trademark protection. The trademark office had turned the band down, because it deemed the name racially "disparaging," but the court said the denial amounted to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.


I personally have mixed feelings about this. I don't like the government telling people what to name products, children, property, etc. On the other hand, I can certainly see the issues created by certain words.

And on the third hand (????), I personally have seen a company produce "Big Ass Fans," which are exactly what the words mean -- huge ceiling fans used in industrial/commercial applications.
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Mike Stiles
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punk band?
 
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Bill Cook
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Isn’t the whole point of the T that you don’t need the ed?
 
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Oh, people have been telling me "Get FUCT" this whole time? I didn't realize they were just giving me fashion advice.
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Aaron Abercrombie
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It's been confusion from the word go!
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remorseless1 wrote:
Blame this on The Slants:
And on the third hand (????), I personally have seen a company produce "Big Ass Fans," which are exactly what the words mean -- huge ceiling fans used in industrial/commercial applications.


We have those at my facility. They really blow in that I mean they really suck. Think they're making money just off their name.

Also, haven't seen them in a while but there was a trucking company called NBS Trucking whose emblem had a squatting bull with the ⃠ sign around it.

Think there needs to be a line somewhere. I'm hoping more that it's as simply yet well defined as possible to allow fair and consistent decisions to be made.

 
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Richard Poole
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I see no real issues caused by certain words. Just because the government chooses to recognize a trademark doesn't equate to government endorsement of those words or associated ideas. If someone wants to go after the trademark holder for obscenity or something, let them. But to do it via trademark registration is like saying because I painted a slur on the side of my car, the police won't prevent and the state won't prosecute anyone who steals or destroys my car.

We can draw a line (indeed, smaller jurisdictions can each draw their own lines) without having to involve the feds and the trademark office.
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Chad Ellis
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Escapade wrote:
I see no real issues caused by certain words. Just because the government chooses to recognize a trademark doesn't equate to government endorsement of those words or associated ideas. If someone wants to go after the trademark holder for obscenity or something, let them. But to do it via trademark registration is like saying because I painted a slur on the side of my car, the police won't prevent and the state won't prosecute anyone who steals or destroys my car.

We can draw a line (indeed, smaller jurisdictions can each draw their own lines) without having to involve the feds and the trademark office.


This seems right to me. Trademark isn't an endorsement of a product or brand -- it's an establishment of IP rights, reflecting an investment in the creation of that brand and that others may try to leech off of it. The "will we see this on every bus" argument is only valid if SCOTUS thinks that a slur will become a successful brand if and only if it gains trademark protection, which seems like a stretch.
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Max Sewell
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Escapade wrote:
I see no real issues caused by certain words. Just because the government chooses to recognize a trademark doesn't equate to government endorsement of those words or associated ideas. If someone wants to go after the trademark holder for obscenity or something, let them. But to do it via trademark registration is like saying because I painted a slur on the side of my car, the police won't prevent and the state won't prosecute anyone who steals or destroys my car.

We can draw a line (indeed, smaller jurisdictions can each draw their own lines) without having to involve the feds and the trademark office.

Hasn't it been pushed this far because it couldn't be settled lower down the food chain?

I also read something about a Justice wondering if the government didn't put restrictions on certain words, we'd see a lot of trademarks on billboards and signs that we'd regret. The 'N' word for instance.

Slippery slope, sure, but it does give one pause.
 
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Richard Poole
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Yes and no.

The mark was granted by the USPTO. That's federal. Basically, someone got offended, asked their dad to take away the federal trademark, and he wouldn't. So then they asked their dad's dad, and they didn't either. So now they're asking their dad's dad's dads (all 9 of them). Maybe some of the earlier dads also disagreed, but that's immaterial.

What I am saying is remove the statute denying trademark protection to offensive marks. It may run afoul of first amendment issues, but more importantly, we don't need it. If a community doesn't like a word, they can ban it (well, again, within the confines of the first amendment). If "Fuck Whitey" t-shirts are selling like hotcakes in Town A, but Town B wants to ban them, that's fine. All a federal trademark does is say that nobody else is allowed to sell "Fuck Whitey" products, it doesn't say that Town B MUST allow marketing and sale of those products.

So to answer your point directly, if a town doesn't want billboards for "N-word Pocket Protectors" or "N-word Quesadillas", they can just pass a law against putting the N word on billboards in their town. No slippery slope, because all you're doing is letting each jurisdiction decide, and if you can't get a majority of the lawmakers in a town to ban a certain word, maybe that word shouldn't be banned there.

By the way, I'm basically a super leftist bleeding heart, but surely the conservatives on this one should be able to get behind small government and individual freedoms. Right?
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Paul K.
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abercrab wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
Blame this on The Slants:
And on the third hand (????), I personally have seen a company produce "Big Ass Fans," which are exactly what the words mean -- huge ceiling fans used in industrial/commercial applications.


We have those at my facility. They really blow in that I mean they really suck. Think they're making money just off their name.


My local IKEA uses them in the warehouse portion.

</pointless anecdote>
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BFL's going down (under)
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Point of order on the thread title. This is a trademark case. Copyright is a completely different thing.

For the record, most countries have prohibitions against the registration of 'scandalous' or 'offensive' trademarks. But then, most countries don't have freedom of speech enshrined in the way the US does in the First Amendment.

It's a bit of a strange one, because while registration of a trademark does not represent government endorsement of said trademark or what it contains, preventing registration of a trademark does not curtail speech in any meaningful sense. You can still use the trademark even if it isn't registered. Registration gives you the right to go after other people in a court of law for using the mark. So ironically, registration of a trademark can have the effect of curtailing so-called 'free speech' - for everybody who isn't the trademark holder.

Also, trademark rights are not necessarily absolute, but under the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS), to which most industrialised countries are signatories, trademark rights can be abrogated in the name of a broader public good. A good example of this is tobacco plain packaging, where the broader public health interest of reducing smoking has been held in Australia and international courts to supersede the rights of tobacco companies to use their trademarks on packets of cigarettes.

So I think there are arguments either way on this one. Will be interesting to see what SCOTUS decides.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Escapade wrote:
I see no real issues caused by certain words. Just because the government chooses to recognize a trademark doesn't equate to government endorsement of those words or associated ideas. If someone wants to go after the trademark holder for obscenity or something, let them. But to do it via trademark registration is like saying because I painted a slur on the side of my car, the police won't prevent and the state won't prosecute anyone who steals or destroys my car.

We can draw a line (indeed, smaller jurisdictions can each draw their own lines) without having to involve the feds and the trademark office.


This seems right to me. Trademark isn't an endorsement of a product or brand -- it's an establishment of IP rights, reflecting an investment in the creation of that brand and that others may try to leech off of it. The "will we see this on every bus" argument is only valid if SCOTUS thinks that a slur will become a successful brand if and only if it gains trademark protection, which seems like a stretch.


Well, quite. Nothing's stopping them from putting their brand on the side of a bus if their trademark isn't registered.
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Walt
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Somehow I think if the trademark application was for "Florida University of Computer Technology" and also "F.U.C.T." the TM would have sailed through.

And most uses of four letter words are hardly obscene: "**** off"; "****ed up"; etc.
 
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