If You're Going To Waste Away In Margaritaville, Be Sure Jimmy Buffett's Signed Off

from the not-so-relaxed-now dept

Something about this story reminds us of that old joke about two guests at a wedding when one says to the other “The food here is terrible, and such small portions!” Apparently, musician Jimmy Buffett is trying to shut down an online seller of beach-themed merchandise using the tag line ‘Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Online Store for Merchandise’. Buffett’s defense of his trademarks seems reasonable, since they’re clearly his, and a shopper might get the impression, with a line like that, the the site was somehow officially associated with him. But he goes even further, complaining that the store sells Jimmy Buffet items at that it isn’t allowed to sell, and that they’re too expensive. How is he not allowed to sell the items? Assuming that he acquired them legally, and that they’re not counterfeits, on what grounds does Buffett seek to prevent their sale and dictate pricing. The vendor took down anything that would suggest the site is officially associated with Buffett, which is good, but that hasn’t appeased Buffett or his lawyers. As for dictating the terms of sale on anything that bears his name, Buffett is hardly alone. Still, just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t make them correct in their understanding of the law. It’s yet another attempt to use trademark not just to prevent customer confusion (as is its purpose), but also to try to exert excess control over anyone’s use of the trademark.

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Comments on “If You're Going To Waste Away In Margaritaville, Be Sure Jimmy Buffett's Signed Off”

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ArachNerd says:

It’s the first line of Annie Hall…

Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

Pirate@40 says:

not so fast..

Is Jimmy Buffett making everyone take his merchandise off Ebay too, or just people using his name and overcharging for his stuff?

There’s probably more to this and I’m sure they pissed him off by using his name to imply they were associated with him. They can change their name but that doesn’t change the fact they were trying to act as an official Jimmy Buffett store when they’re not and then overcharging his fans on top of that. I guess that’s whatcha get…

Koko Loko (user link) says:

What's the deal here?

Quote: “How is he not allowed to sell the items?”

As I understand it, Jimmy Buffett is a person’s name, and since he is the founder of a company known as Maragritaville, (his restaurant chain), I would think sale of items that have Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville” would be considered counterfeit goods…

Again, I may be missing the author’s point… I really love TechDirt, and don’t mean to hurt any feelings…

If I’m wrong, does anyone wanna help me sell homemade “Hard Rock Cafe” shirts?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What's the deal here?

As the article says, “assuming they’re not counterfeits.”

If Jimmy sells merchandise with his name and logo on them, and the online site acquired said merchandise through legal means, they have every right to resell those goods at any price they want. Just because Jimmy doesn’t want them selling his stuff, it doesn’t mean they’re counterfeit.

I mean, if they’re marked up enough, maybe they just go into the restaurant’s gift shop.

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