Super Bowl Intellectual Property Insanity: No Big Screen Super Bowl Parties, Trademarking 19-0

from the the-big,-big-game dept

Well here are a couple stories to leave you with as we head into Super Bowl weekend. Every year it seems there's some insanity concerning the NFL somehow trying to abuse intellectual property rights above and beyond what they're designed for. Remember, the NFL thinks that it can tell reporters how to report on a game, while also forcing them to advertise for NFL sponsors. It also has been known to issue bogus DMCA notices. And, of course, don't forget that not only has the NFL bullied people into believing that you can't use the phrase "The Super Bowl" in an advertisement, after many advertisers switched to the euphemism "The Big Game" to appease the NFL, it tried to trademark "The Big Game" as well.

This year, the big news (as submitted by a lot of you), but first by Ryan, is that the New England Patriots have applied for a trademark on "19-0" to represent the undefeated season the team will have if it wins this season. The NY Post, snarky as ever, filed for a trademark on 18-1 in response, supporting the home town NY Giants. This, of course, seems rather ridiculous. What would happen in future seasons if some other team was able to go 19-0? There's also the question of hubris in declaring yourself 19-0 before that final game. On that note, you can already pre-order a book about the 19-0 season, even though it hasn't been completed yet.

That's not all, though. Last year, we had a story that got tremendous attention about the NFL stopping churches from having Super Bowl parties, if they had a TV that was bigger than 55". There was a lot of fuss about it, and you would think that, perhaps, the NFL would let it slide this year. Not so. Ethan Bauley writes in to let us know that, once again, the NFL has been going around stopping churches from holding Super Bowl... er... The Big Game... er... "Best Commercials Of The Year, Interrupted By Some Game" parties, for having TVs that are too big.

So, remember, as you watch the... event... this weekend, to do so on a TV smaller than 55", do not refer to it as "The Super Bowl" or "The Big Game," make sure to notice the photojournalists wearing sponsors' clothing, and certainly do not put a fair use clip on YouTube. And, perhaps, cheer on the Giants in their effort to make the 19-0 trademark question a hypothetical, rather than practical, question.

Filed Under: 19-0, copyright, nfl, super bowl, the big game, the patriots, trademarks
Companies: nfl

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  1. identicon
    Bryan, 3 Feb 2008 @ 2:25pm

    Re: the pats are locks

    "I won't be watching the game because the refs have been setting the table for the Pats at least since Ravens game, probably earlier. I turned the Charger game off after Vrabel's leg whip to Rivers knee wasn't called so the interception he subsequently threw wouldn't stand.

    You're probably thinking, What does this have to do with Tech or Dirt or Trademark or whatever? It comes from this: the NFL isn't just trying to control access to their product--earlier this year, for instance, they tried to limit news outlets from using more than 45 seconds worth of footage of any game, including interviews, so that people would have to go to the NFL Network or for "total access"--they are also trying to control the storyline. When the Pats are on, as Bloomberg pointed out recently, ratings are up, and that's all that matters. Thus we no longer have a game of skill. We have Survivor, and the NFL are the producers editing the storyline into compelling shape for public consumption.

    Not that the NFL's infallible--clearly the refs were trying to set the table for the Pack too to set up the QB matchup the NFL had already been touting, but Favre just wouldn't tuck in--but it's tough for a team to beat both a good team and the refs. I give the Giants zero chance.

    Don't believe me? Call me a Patriot hater (I love how the fans of the most racist city in the north have adopted the patois of inner city black basketball fans)? Fine. Just watch the refs. That'll be the real game."

    I could not agree more. First Superbowl I have ever refused to watch.

    The only flaw in your post was the use of the word patriots or pats. I am sure you really meant to use their real name the New England Cheaters.

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