An R-Rated Trademark Dispute?

from the you-can't-be-serious... dept

The MPAA really does get a little crazy when it comes to over-reacting on intellectual property issues. Their latest move is to send out cease-and-desist letters to sites that host fan fiction -- not because those made up stories use characters, places and themes from real movies -- but because they use the (trademarked) MPAA movie rating system. That's right, if you happen to label your story as rated G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17, you'd better watch out, the MPAA might come after you. Of course, they seem to ignore the fact that this system has become common around the world, is hardly taking anything away from the MPAA's own system (if anything, it enhances it), and also is useful in keeping age-inappropriate stories off the screens of those who shouldn't see them.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Paul, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 5:45am

    Not that surprising

    They are doing this lest the current rating end up sharing the fate of teh original X rating. The MPAA thoughtfully trademarked G, PG, and R when they established the ratings system but forgot/didn't bother with X. The result is that X was co-oppted by the adult/porn film producers and resulted in a stigma being attached to X rated movies. The MPAA figured out they needed a new adult movie rating and came up with NC-17 to have a trademarked rating that allows for adult themed movies.

     

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  2.  
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    Tim, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 6:30am

    Re: Not that surprising

    This is why you need an ISO standard set of age-descriptions, not one devised by a stupid company.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    slick, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 7:01am

    I can understand that though

    It is actually a kind of fraud if you think about it. Those ratings are based on criteria (supposedly rigidly enforced) so when something has a rating you should know what your getting. If the rating is slapped on by some one else and never tested against the criteria then the rating cannot be accurate. The problem is though most people don't know how a film gets a rating and the rating system is so generic that it only makes sense to copy it. I think that they (the MMPA) should be should only be allowed to use the rating system where their name is at least as prevailent as the ratting like MMPA-R or MMPA-G that way if some one does use R or G or PG or what ever it can't be confused, and also if someone uses MMPA-R then are more obviously swiping from the MMPA.

     

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  4.  
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    DV Henkel-Wallace, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 8:00am

    Next up:

    I hear that next they're going after the estate of P.G. Wodehouse...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 9:09am

    No Subject Given

    Each country has a rating system but each country uses the their own set of rating designations. One movie will show up as this:

    Australia:M / Finland:K-15 / Hong Kong:IIB / Malaysia:(Banned) (uncut version) / Netherlands:16 / Norway:15 / Philippines:PG-13 / Singapore:PG / UK:15 / USA:R

    Also, video games here have their own rating designations. Presumably this is because the MPAA won't let them use their system.

    I suppose that this fan fiction can look for a rating system that is freely available or start using descriptive sentences ("this story is adults only").

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Phillip Vector, Apr 19th, 2005 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Not that surprising

    I just called the MPAA (818-995-6600) and asked Barbara in public relations to actually sue me. I run a film I made and I gave myself an R rating.

    I SO want one of those cease and decist letters to frame and put up on my wall.

    If you want to have some fun, call her and tell her you also want to be sued. :)

     

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