Now It's Time For Summer Camps To Freak Out Over MySpace
from the it-will-never-end dept
Well, school’s now out of session, so we won’t be seeing stories about schools freaking out about MySpace for a few months. Instead, we get stories like this one in the NY Times about summer camps freaking out about MySpace and other technology (including one camp that wants to ban video iPods, not because kids should be outside enjoying the great outdoors, but because they might, possibly, maybe, somehow have inappropriate material on the iPod). It’s in the MySpace/Facebook freak outs where things get really bizarre. Repeated through the article are worried claims about the threat of pictures of campers or the camp showing up online — though, no one explains why that’s really so bad (other than an insurance agent who seems to want to scare camps about the “risks” associated with MySpace). However, the really bizarre case concerns a girls camp called Camp Fenwood, who apparently has a questionable understanding of the law. Beyond asking for an increased police presence at the camp because of MySpace (why? who knows?) they also claim that they’re trademarking the camp name, logo and slogan “so they can legally order others not to use them online.” First of all, why hadn’t they already trademarked those things for all the normal business reasons? More importantly, it shows a total misunderstanding of trademark law. Owning the trademark to your camp name, slogan and logo doesn’t give you permission to order just anyone to stop using it. A camper should have every right to mention it on their own website. It only forbids use that might confuse people into thinking it’s an official site of the camp. Of course, the NY Times doesn’t bother to mention this, and perpetuates the myth that trademark law allows such total bans on content.