Sex Pistols Claiming Trademark Infringement? Because Selling Out Is So Punk Rock

from the god-save-the-cream dept

I first heard about the Icecreamist’s “Sex Pistols: God Save the Cream” ice cream + absinthe monstrosity (served out of an IV drip?!?) a few weeks ago when my friend Jean had one for breakfast (wait… breakfast?!?). Either way, it was amusing to see ice cream go punk rock/extreme. However, apparently the rights holders for the Sex Pistols are none too pleased. Lawrence D’Oliveiro (without a link!) alerts us that the Sex Pistols are threatening legal action over the ice cream. Now, my guess is that the Pistols have a decent enough trademark claim here. The menu in Jean’s photos clearly show the drink called “The Sex Pistol” with the tagline “God Save the Cream” (a play on the Pistol’s “God Save the Queen”). However, it doesn’t seem particularly punk rock to be filing trademark infringement lawsuits, does it? As the Icecreamists are saying:

“We are a bit dumbfounded that a group that made its reputation for being banned is trying to ban one of our ice creams and claim copyright over the national anthem and the Queen.”

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Comments on “Sex Pistols Claiming Trademark Infringement? Because Selling Out Is So Punk Rock”

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25 Comments
Ima Fish (profile) says:

The Sex Pistols were purely a marketing gimmick and a source of revenue committed against this planet by Malcolm McLaren. They were as “punk rock” as Sigue Sigue Sputnik or Frankie Goes to Hollywood, pure fashion and contrived “shock” in lieu of any substance.

To argue that the Sex Pistols were somehow above monetary gain shows you know absolutely nothing about their origins or history.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Not that there have been any real punks for over three decades, but it’s unclear if the survivors are pressing this or if “the sex pistols holding company” Glitterbest engineered this claim.

Anyone know if Rotten is actively trying to retire or is this just a turn of the wheel to which the remaining members long ago sold out?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If I would have seen it I would have figured it was a pop culture reference like Hard Rock or Planet Hollywood. I would only think that the guy who wrote the menu had a sense of humor. While Pittsburgh’s Hard Rock has Michael Jackson’s jacket, I don’t think that there is any connection between the two. Same thing here.

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Isn’t any anti-establishment musician or musical group that signs a record contract with a major record label by definition a “sell out”? They’ve sold their music to the music industrial complex and no longer are making music for the fans, but are making it for the shareholders.

To ever be truly punk rock, you’d have to first refuse to be a cog in the machine. Once you sign a contract, you get your cog membership card and secret decoder ring; you’re no longer punk rock anyway.

The only way to not be a “sell out” and have a record contract is never to have ideals to begin with. Then there’s nothing to “sell out” of.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Or you can do what Atari Teenage Riot did and pick up a big cheque from a major label then use it to set up your own label while never actually releasing anything on the big label.

The less crafty might want to just look for a non RIAA label to start out on before setting up their own when they make some money. Like Fat Mike of NOFX did.

Personally, and as I keep saying, I’m rather fond of the magnatune.com way of doing things.

Matt (profile) says:

Wait… “my guess is that the Pistols have a decent enough trademark claim here”… really? Did they ever sell ice cream under the Pistol’s mark? Or food? According to the linked article, they did not file a TM application in this area until _after_ the “infringing” use appeared. I think you are being too generous, Mike: their trademark claim is, at best, hogwash (and at worst actionable hog wash).

They _may_ have a dilution claim, but it’s a bit of a stretch. They have a better copyright claim, premised on the “God Save the Cream” banner which is clearly based off an old Pistol’s album cover… unless the banner is a parody (certainly could be understood that way).

Sid's Still Dead but he has more to say than you says:

Wow. Who would have thought a band that had reformed for the Filthy Lucre Tour a decade ago would have such avarice?!

Obviously, someone who knows nothing about them and wants to score a cheap rhetorical point against a group of people (punks) he’s not a member of and knows not much about. You know, an ignorant bigot.

Rock on, dude.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Obviously, someone who knows nothing about them and wants to score a cheap rhetorical point against a group of people (punks) he’s not a member of and knows not much about. You know, an ignorant bigot.

Ha! This story wasn’t about making a point about punks. And, honestly, what does making fun of a silly trademark dispute have to do with being a bigot?

Anyway, anyone who thinks that punk is about membership has some learning to do.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Obviously, someone who knows nothing about them and wants to score a cheap rhetorical point against a group of people (punks) he’s not a member of and knows not much about. You know, an ignorant bigot.”

You think punks are a group? My membership card must be in the mail. Else-wise, maybe punk music is about expressing yourself rather than being part of a group.

I’m guessing if you met me you’d call me a hippy for having long hair because you sure sound like more of a ignorant bigot than Mike does.

Anonymous Coward says:

At least Sex Pistols are in the right...

It’s nice to see trademark law *not* being abused, since it’s actually good, reasonable law (when you stick to the law, and don’t try to overreach).

I completely thought that this was endorsed by the Sex Pistols. It took me until nearly the end of the article to figure out exactly why they were suing, because I figured there was *no way* a company would flat out use a popular band’s trademarked name in the name of their product like that without permission. It’s just so *stupid*.

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