It's not uncommon for people unfamiliar with patents, copyrights and trademarks to confuse the three -- and we see it all too often in the press. However, you would think that lawyers would be a bit more careful. Copycense
points out a story about how famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer is suing a local radio station for using his trademarked phrase "Let's Get Ready to Rumble"
without paying him. The reporter shifts back and forth between copyright and trademark as if they're the same thing:
Buffer alleges XHNZ 107.5 used his copyrighted catch phrase "Let's get ready to rumble" without his permission.
The phrase is everywhere, from boxing to hockey and even video games and auto racing. And if you're using it without permission, you'd better be careful because it's trademarked.
Now, hopefully this is just an innocent mistake by the reporter who assumes (incorrectly) that trademarks and copyrights are the same thing, but even Buffer's own lawyer
seems confused about it:
"It could be fairly substantial," [Buffer's El Paso-based attorney Mark] Walker said. "Copyright laws are well-known and it's important for people to know and understand what they are and seek advice if they have any questions about it."
Of course, if they're seeking advice about copyright laws, it shouldn't be over a trademarked
phrase. Buffer insists that Walker is "a great lawyer" who "knows exactly what to do," and perhaps that's true, but it seems like he should get the basics of copyright and trademark law straight. Last year, we wrote up a quick explanation
of the difference, and the new site Core Copyright, recently had its own, much more detailed explanation on the difference