Hulk Hogan Says Calling People 'Brother' And Your Muscles 'Guns' Violates His Publicity Rights

from the oh-brother dept

Another day, another silly publicity rights claim. Apparently Hulk Hogan is suing a car dealership in St. Louis for violating his publicity rights. From the THREsq post on this:
Hogan is suing Southland Imports and Suntrup Automotive Group over a commercial that warns unwary car buyers of getting "body slammed" over bad deals and that invites customers "tired of wrestling for a good deal." The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Florida District Court alleges that the defendant violated Hogan's likeness and implied an endorsement by imitating his voice and using his catch phrases.

And what catch phrases does Hogan claim in the lawsuit to have popularized?
  • The heavy use of "brother" to refer to one's acquaintances
  • Pointing to one's own muscles and referring to them as "guns" (Watch out, Ron Burgundy)
  • Reference to fans as "Hulkamaniacs"
Yet another case of publicity rights gone mad. Calling someone "brother" and referring to muscles as "guns" is something that's gone on for ages. Even if he did popularize it, it doesn't mean only he gets to use the phrases. But this is the sort of situation that's created by the pernicious nature of "ownership" culture, where people are being taught that they can "own" pretty much any idea or concept. It inevitably leads to clearly ridiculous lawsuits such as this one.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Uh....

    "Hulk Hogan Says Calling People 'Brother'...Violates His Publicity Rights"

    I expect Jessie Jackson and/or the NAACP might want to have a word with him....

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Hulkamania

    I always liked the Hulk. I hope he gets his head straightened out about this cruft! He's big. He's smart. And he ought to know better!

     

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    Jay (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Seriously?!

    Hulk, you got a divorce. You have a great woman on your shoulder. You work for TNA (the WRESTLING company) and you're adored by millions.

    We cried when you came out and admitted to taking steroids. We listened when you said "eat your veggies".

    We were inspired to hit the gym and get into shape in seeing you wrestle and connect with Each. And every. Fan in the arena. We understand that wrestling gave you a lot of pain and grief, to go with the happiness.

    We love you for it. We didn't go after you for buying the name "Hulk" from Marvel a few years ago... Nor did we blink when you sold it from your ex wife.

    We didn't complain about you sharing your experiences with everyone in the ring and finding ways to be relevant in the wrestling business, no matter the bumps.

    But this, has GOT. To. STOP. You don't need to tarnish your image with this. We don't need to think of Hulk Hogan as a washed up has been that was once great. What you do best is inspire others. This does not accomplish that goal.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Seriously?!

      "But this, has GOT. To. STOP. You don't need to tarnish your image with this. We don't need to think of Hulk Hogan as a washed up has been that was once great. What you do best is inspire others. This does not accomplish that goal."

      Wow, dude, you're a hell of a hulk fan, aren't you? Here's the deal:

      Steroids wrecked his junk and joints, all the repeated violent collisions in wrestling likely resulted in CTE, the same thing that caused ex-Bear great Dave Duerson to kill himself. Basically, the brain is attacked by the same small proteins that destroy the minds of Alzheimer's patients, except it attacks areas that control mood, depression, and cause suicidal tendencies. It's why so many wrestlers, football players, and hockey players either kill themselves or die at a young age.

      Hulk Hogan is most likely gone, replaced by a confused shell person who may well be being manipulated by his family in the same way Alzheimer sufferers are. Let's just hope he doesn't take the Dave Duerson route....

       

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      Larry Brown, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 1:26am

      Re: Seriously?!

      You are right man.

       

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    David (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Seriously?!?!, Seriously!!!!

    Uh Oh, now ABC, and the folks from Grey's Anatomy are gonna come after me!

     

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    Shane, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    wtf

    Hogan has rarely, if ever, referred to his muscles as "guns". It was always "24 and a half inch pythons, brother".

     

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    MunkiLord (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    What about Hulkamaniac?

    Does he have a legitimate legal claim for them using Hulkamaniac?

    Now I think him filing lawsuit is petty and foolish either way, I'm just curious.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

      Re: What about Hulkamaniac?

      I could see him having a trademark on it, and thus having a legitimate claim against anyone using it in commerce to mislead consumers. But as a publicity rights thing, it seems pretty flimsy.

       

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    St. Thomas, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Brother Where Art Thou

    He should sue the Franciscans for the heavy use of brother...the church has deeper coffers than a dealership

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    I've always thought Hogan sucked. Even at 13, I never bought that whole "Hulk Hogan" image, it seemed so forced and faked. "Hollywood Hogan" seemed a far more natural persona for him as it is likely much closer to his real personality.

     

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    bobt1956, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Too Obivous ....

    Sorry for his money problems but I think he could find other solutions.

     

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    Comment, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    He's going to have to litigate everyone back to Jesus that called somebody brother.

     

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    LXNDR, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Except it was clearly a direct reference to Hogan and a definite violation. It's not just one of the things mentioned, but a combination of all of them. Don't be stupid.

    If someone wore a bad wig in a commercial, called himself "Ronald Rump" and said "YOU'RE FIRED", you wouldn't be whining about not being able to say "you're fired".

    You're blinded by the fact that it's a wrestler, he still has rights to his image and phrases heavily associated with him. It could be considered parody, but for it to be considered parody, it would (obviously) have to be a direct reference to Hogan.

     

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      Stuart, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      You are absolutely right. Damn Mike. I support your side often but when you pull crap like this it makes all your opinions suspect.

      Clearly looking like him, imitating the voice and using both phrases in a commercial selling goods is a true violation.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Whether it's a violation or not, you hit the nail on the head with the selective focus on just two things.

      This, of course, is not an anomoly, but a pretty regular criticism that Masnick doesn't agree with or take seriously.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

      Re:

      Sigh...

      Once again, poor reading comprehension. The lawsuit includes the catch phrases, and specifically points to them as examples of infringement on his publicity rights.

      No, it's not the entirety of the case, but because its specified, he's clearly claiming ownership of the phrases (in addition to everything else).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Re:

        No, that's not clear at all.

        Saying, "by doing X, Y, and Z he infringes my rights" is not the same as "if he only did Z he would be infringing my rights."

        Not only is that not "clear," it's just not true at all.

        Your smug criticism of others' reading comprehension skills makes this error all the worse.

         

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          Any Mouse (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 9:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, since we can only go on what the linked article says, since we don't have a copy of the original filing...

          "And what catch phrases does Hogan claim in the lawsuit to have popularized?

          * The heavy use of "brother" to refer to one's acquaintances
          * Pointing to one's own muscles and referring to them as "guns" (Watch out, Ron Burgundy)
          * Reference to fans as "Hulkamaniacs"

          Put together, the Hulkster sees a publicity rights infringer in his midst."

          The first two points are arguable at best. The last one is the only point that he might have.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    what are all the bros and bro hoes going to call each other? Is he really that broke? what a jack ass.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Not so fast

    He's not claiming that he own the phrases, he obviously doesn't. Not even Hulkamia, that's Marvel Comics.

    The claim is that by using such phrases in conjunction with a soundalike constitutes the dealership is trying to suggest his endorsement.

    If they didn't add a "celebrity voice impersonated" tagline in fastspeak somewhere in the ad, he's got a case... and not one based on modern publicity lawsuits run amok, but with precedent dating back decades.

     

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    FormerAC (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    He is broke

    He is broke and grasping at straws.

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    On target

    Actually, I have to add my voice to those who think that Hogan is within bounds on this one.

    I followed the link. I tried to find the commercial (and didn't) but with the information in hand, it seems to me that he was reasonably concerned about an implied endorsement.

    This isn't a fan film here. This is a commercial. So was his successful case against Post Foods. In his shoes I would not want them exploiting my reputation either. Not just for the money, but because I would want to choose my endorsements.

    A quick YouTube search shows over 100k hits for Hulk Hogan, over 500 of which seem to be fan films using action figures. We have not heard about him trying to get any of these removed.

    He does not seem out of control, or rabid or anything like that. He seems to me to be measured and reasonable. The reporting at Hollywood Reporter however... maybe not so much.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Hulk who? Is this 1984 or 2011? Who cares about Hulk Hogan, most kids have no idea who the hell he is and more importantly, no one cares.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    There's a mattress company around here that uses Groucho Marx's likeness, but I've never assumed that it had his endorsement. I think it's more likely that the commercial in this case was made by a fan of Hulk Hogan and meant to appeal to other fans, not any sort of "implied endorsement".

     

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    Non-Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 5:28pm

    Wow I'm a Loser

    I shouldn't have known this

    Until recently, neither he nor the WWF/WCW (titan Sports) owned the full rights to his "Hulk" name. "Hulkamania," "Hulk Hogan," and "Hulkster" were all owned by Marvel Comics. The WWF/WWE made a deal with Marvel to use the name "Hulk." This was also done with WCW when Hogan went to WCW. Also, WCW used "Hollywood Hogan" to cancel the Marvel deal, but the deal was still alive. However, before the 2006 release of his multidisk anthology, Hogan acquired the rights to the name Hulk Hogan from Marvel. The trademark citation "Hulk Hogan is a trademark of Terry Bollea" can be found on the DVD-set credits.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Joke Hogan.

     

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    Shon Gale (profile), Apr 27th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Old Hulk is really broke, huh! Needs money bad, sue everybody. Like anyone really cares about a washed up, should just stay at home wrestler. what a weenie! Ooooh I'll sue ya'

     

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    Dana Neuman, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    Crazy

    Hulk is crazy. You can't claim a single word. Does that mean if I use the word 'muscles' I need to pay 10 cents? Whatever.

     

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