Tag: intellectual property

National Pork Board to Unicorn Meat Purveyor: Lay Off Our Slogan

By Joseph Calamia | June 23, 2010 10:55 am

unicornTrying to cut back on beef, but tired of fish and chicken? Try unicorn. According to a joke advertisement on the website ThinkGeek, unicorn is the “new white meat.”

But according to the National Pork Board, it had better not be. The Board’s lawyers sent the nerdy site–also sellers of Tauntaun sleeping bags (real) and Tribbles ‘n’ Bits cereal (fake)–a 12-page-long, cease-and-desist letter last month telling the site to lay off “the other white meat,” which is trademarked in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

ThinkGeek thinks the two meats can’t compare. Unlike pork, unicorn is an excellent source of sparkles. Also unlike pigs, unicorns aren’t real–so ThinkGeek believes the slogan “Pate is passe. Unicorn — the new white meat” constitutes fair use as a parody.

As reported in The Washington Post, Board spokeswoman Ceci Snyder says their lawyers must protect any use of the phrase:

“Clearly there’s some fun being had, and we can laugh, too,” Snyder said. “But in the end [the lawyers are] just following the law.”

From their site, it doesn’t look like ThinkGeek is budging. If the Pork Board is successful, maybe the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association might have a better sense of humor. “Unicorn: It’s What’s For Dinner” has a nice ring to it.

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Image: flickr / Scorpiorules58 / Tanakawho

The Downfall of Hitler Parodies: Videos Removed From YouTube in Copyright Action

By Smriti Rao | April 22, 2010 11:50 am

This week, YouTube began trying to obliterate one of the most popular internet memes of all time, the Downfall parodies featuring an enraged Adolf Hitler, after a copyright claim by the German production house that owns the movie’s rights.

The parody videos all use a clip from the 2004 German film Downfall about Hitler’s final days. In the clip, Hitler–played by actor Bruno Ganz–lashes out at his staff when he is told that he cannot win the war. As with any foreign film, the movie came with subtitles.

Over the years, fun-seekers have replaced the original English subtitles with absurd substitutes. So instead of ranting about the war, the subtitles express Hitler’s rage over Kanye West’s famous outburst, his toilet being clogged, or the collapse of the real estate market. The satirical videos have been hugely popular over the years, with some clips racking up hundreds of thousands of views. But the clips apparently didn’t just generate a lot of laughs, they also irritated the company that owns the rights to the film, prompting the company to ask YouTube to take them off the site.

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