It would appear that today is trademark day, here at Techdirt. We've already had two different stories about organizations not understanding the purpose of trademarks. But how can you blame them when it appears some of our lawmakers don't seem to understand it either? Apparently, a new bill is making its way through the standard process that would change trademark law to make it a lot more difficult for people to use trademarks in any work of art. Once again (we hate to repeat it, but since there's so much misunderstanding, perhaps it's worthwhile): the purpose of trademark is to prevent misleading or confusing people. That is, I can't create a new cola and call it Coke. That would confuse people who might, legitimately, think I was associated with the large soft drink company. However, using a Coke bottle in a painting isn't going to confuse anyone, so there shouldn't be any question of trademark infringement. Unfortunately, this new bill would potentially make that actionable. Trademarks aren't supposed to mean you get full control over every use of the trademarked content. Just that you can prevent others from using it in a way that could confuse people into believing a connection or relationship that isn't there.
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