No, Writing A Song With The Lyric 'Let's Go Thunder' Doesn't Entitle You To 30% Of The Oklahoma City Thunder's Profits

from the ownership-society dept

A guy named Charles Syrus apparently wrote a song that had the phrases “Go Thunder” and “Let’s Go Thunder” in it, cheering on the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team. Syrus then got a copyright on the song. And then… he claimed that the copyright for the song gave him the copyright in those two phrases, and demanded 20 to 30% of the teams’ “net gross” (um…) for using those phrases in promotional campaigns. Not surprisingly, the district court and the appeals court rejected his lawsuit, noting that “we easily conclude that the phrases ‘Go Thunder’ and ‘Let’s Go Thunder’ do not reflect the minimal creativity required for copyright protection.” And, finally (though to the surprise of pretty much no one, Syrus excepted), the Supreme Court has said it has no interest in hearing his appeal. Some will claim that this is no big deal, since the courts got it right and this clear overreach of copyright law went nowhere legally. However, it does seem like yet another sign of the insanity of our culture today and the suggestion that everything and every phrase is “ownable” thanks to modern IP laws. You wouldn’t even have a case like this if people didn’t think it was possible to abuse copyright in this manner — and given the headlines we see of crazy sounding copyright cases all the time, it shouldn’t be any surprise at all that people are tying up courts with ridiculous claims like this one.

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Companies: nba

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Comments on “No, Writing A Song With The Lyric 'Let's Go Thunder' Doesn't Entitle You To 30% Of The Oklahoma City Thunder's Profits”

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Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’d agree with you about it being an anomaly, if it was, but it isn’t. We have chefs claiming IP being stolen when someone takes a picture of their food and a CEO claiming their logo stolen and tagline misappropriated when someone makes a parody website of their company, and that’s just today. In the past Burberry was threatened by Humphrey Bogart’s estate for showing an image of Mr Bogart wearing a Burberry coat, trademark applications for Linsanity, Seal 6 (not by the Navy Seals), Occupy Wall St, Justice for Trayvon, and I won’t even begin with the Olympics. There’s more, but I don’t have the time to remember them all.

It’s not an anomaly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I wonder if your examples are okay because they were coined by someone who then got the copyright on it versus something they did not create but put into a song?

Besides, any sports team called Thunder would have fans yelling Go Thunder or Let’s go Thunder. Probably have been doing it long before this guy’s song was even created.

Brent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

agreed! when i started reading the article, i actually thought it was going to do that sort of comparison.. I don’t think its right to ‘abuse’ the system but honestly, if more individuals tried to do this kind of thing, maybe it would be more abundantly clear to law-makers and/or regular citizens the system is completely screwed up and change would happen. Not to mention there would be more comparisons of cases brought by individuals getting rejected vs similar cases brought by RIAA/MPAA that are awarded damages.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The state with Bedlam (the awesomest name for a rivalry I’ve ever heard) doesn’t even get a pro football team. Guess we’ll just have to hope OSU (sorry sooners) rises to the challenge again this year.
That is, if the coaches on the poll don’t have their head stuck up their collective asses.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Some will claim that this is no big deal, since the courts got it right and this clear overreach of copyright law went nowhere legally.

Anyone who claims that is an idiot. The expense of taking a case all the way to the supreme court is outrageous. My guess would be at least a half million in attorney fees alone. That is not a system that works for a frivolous case.

And even if the court does make the loser pay, where is that money coming from? It’s not like that song writer has a half a million dollars lying around.

WDS (profile) says:

2 wrongs = 1 right?

Well he copied “Thunder” from the name of the team, and he copied “Let’s go” from the chant of every other team in America (or is that Amercia). It makes perfect sense to me that he should get wealth from then combining the two. If he had added two claps between every time the line was repeated it would of been worth 50% of the teams gross.

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