Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Content That Is Not Suitable for Printing

I have no right to sell the above Baltimore Oriole t-shirt, which I had put up for sale a couple of weeks ago thru my Zazzle store.

"Unfortunately, it appears that your product, Baltimore Oriole, contains content that is not suitable for printing at"
I got the above note in my email in box last week.

Sure, as you may remember, I drew my own color sketch of the Baltimore Oriole that I had seen in my very own yard. The bird drawings drew a lot of comments and so I put some of those images on t-shirts for sale via Zazzle. Why not?

Well, that was NOT a good idea according to the Zazzle on-line store:

"Design contains an image or text that infringes on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and at their request we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to intellectual property claims."

You can still buy it, now renamed as No Name Bird.

Wear it in protest to an Orioles game.

Note to the lawyers: the Baltimore Oriole bird had the name FIRST, dang it!


Jeff P said...

Yeah, MLB is very strict about this stuff. The company that does my t-shirts went through legal hell a number of years ago because they printed "I support the Red Sox and whoever's beating the Yankees" on a shirt.

It's true, though, the bird was there first. Very ridiculous. I think you should start a media firestorm, make MLB look bad, and gain some PR for yourself. All in your spare time...

Gerry said...

It might be worth looking into whether the trademark is for "Oriole" or "Orioles" plural. Like Jeff said, in your spare time.

Or maybe "Oriole (Baltimore)".

How about "Baltimore Oriole (not the baseball team)"

Or "Baltimore Oreo", "Baltimore Aureole"...just ask, I've got a million of em!

Brian Fies said...

I'm thinking "Baltimore Areola" would be a very popular t-shirt. You're welcome.

I'm with you in spirit, Mike, but not sure of your legal standing. A guy who happened to be named "Ford" couldn't start making cars with his name on them no matter how far back his family went. Meanwhile, before the lawyers crush you, best of luck with the No Name Bird shirt--it's a good drawing.

Mike Lynch said...

You guys crack me up.

There is the story of Walter Taylor who wanted to start up his own vineyard but was barred from using his own name. So, he marketed his wine as Walter XXXXXXX wines, with a big, black blotch where his name is. It's now known as Bully Hill Wines.

But, you know, this is a drawing of a real bird that pre-dates the team's existence. I'm not drawing a baseball team or anything.

Do the MLB legal eagles censor bird books?

This all reminds me of the old MAD Magazine parody "Will Success Spoil Charlie Brown," wherein, Charlie Brown, wearing a suit and tie and CEO of the PEANUTS corporation, barks to his secretary, "Sue Planter's! I don't care WHO had the name first!"

Lenny Boudreau said...

Keep in mind Mike, this was not a legal action (pursued in a court of law) against you. Anyone can send out a cease and desist request. While Zazzle may give in to it, because it's not worth it for them to fight it, you could still do what you want until there is real action against you. I have received one cease and desist for a video I made. I called the producer who sent me the letter and we ironed things out. Regarding another brand spoof I did, my lawyer said the company I was spoofing could very well send me a cease and desist, but he believed I was in the right. He said it would be up to me as to whether I wanted to fight it. And, that is exactly what big companies want. They want you to be afraid and just go away. Honestly, if that company sent me a cease and desist, I would be afraid and go away.

Rah said...

I think it's a great t-shirt.
Shame that Zazzle didn't actually inspect the content before it sent out that letter. I think the bird should sue the ball club! Or you could do it in the name of the bird!

William said...

Hey Mike,

Fun with lawyers on Zazzle. Always a good time. Maybe I'll put my Oriole cartoon up there and call it something strange. "Black and Orange Fowl" (or foul in this case). Here's the URL for mine. I'm sure MLB would love it.