by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 30th 2012 11:48am
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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