NY Port Authority Claims To Own The NYC Skyline: Tells Store To Destroy Skyline-Themed Plates

from the your-bullying-is-of-great-concern dept

What is it with insane NY-related bureaucrats and their attempts to "own" things? In the past, we've covered how New York State is a pretty big trademark bully over the "I ♥ NY" phrase, and did you know that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) claims ownership over the phrase "If you see something, say something"? And, now, we find out that the controversy-ridden Port Authority of NY and NJ appears to be claiming ownership of the NYC skyline. No joke. It apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fishs Eddy, a housewares store in Manhattan that is selling some city themed dishes.


According to the Port Authority, Fishs Eddy can't do that, because, dammit, only the Port Authority owns some of those buildings and bridges.
In a letter to Fishs Eddy dated July 24, Veronica Rodriguez, a lawyer for the authority, asked the store to stop selling anything with these “assets” on them, and to “destroy all materials, documents and other items bearing the assets.”

“Your use of the Port Authority’s assets on dinnerware and other items is of great concern to the Port Authority,” she wrote.
Yes, and your use of stupid bullying tactics over people celebrating your city is of great concern to pretty much everyone else. What sort of life must you lead to spend your work life looking for people to bully for daring to sell merchandise that celebrates the city you technically work for?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Proper response...

    Go jump in the Hudson.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    pegr, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:19am

    Another inbox mistake?

    Because I can hear Ken's reply in my head, and it's HILARIOUS! ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Jeff Green (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Speaking as a Brit ...

    Britannia rules the waves and those plates show waves, so not only are they infringing on the port authorities rights but should be paying large sums to the UK treasury!

    Now who's gonna claim the rights to the sky ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:25am

    i got dibs on the moon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:29am

    This should make short work of the lawsuit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:30am

    "The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place."

    17 USC 120(a)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:34am

    perhaps some plates with her being escorted out the building would be welcome?

    anyway, what has the outcome been? are the plates still on sale or has the fear of crap been put into them??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    It's not copyright they are claiming.

    Erica Dumas, a spokeswoman for the authority, said that similar trademark enforcement efforts had been undertaken and that Fishs Eddy was not being singled out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Ok, who can take an image of the NY skyline and remove all of the buildings "owned" by the Port Authority?

    Wait, don't the tax payers own those buildings?

    Anyway, this would be a great Garfield minus Garfield moment to get a skyline without the Port Authority.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:40am

    Response

    Please refer to 17 USC 120(a) then to the response given in Arkell vs. Pressdram.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    No lawsuit, just a government official using the color of authority to "ask" for the destruction of private property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Danny (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:44am

    This is something

    The phrase "if you see something, say something" should be borrowed by the community on the lookout for over-zealous IP ownership claims and become a standard tool of the trade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:44am

    Re: Speaking as a Brit ...

    I Do, i own the sky. DUH.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Gumnos (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:47am

    Trademark this…

    I 🔩
    NY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:48am

    What's the commerce angle?

    They are selling dinnerware, which is part of their primary commerce.

    The port authority sells what? other than "renting out" corrupt politicians and law makers as part of their primary revenue source for their commerce... and giving contracts to "favored sons"...

    So.. I don't see the confusion in buying a dinner plate vs buying a corrupt politician or major contract ... Even our favorite moron-in-a-hurry can tell the difference...

    At least a dinner plate can be used and then cleaned... /sarc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:49am

    So, someone dishes it out and they CAN take it too.
    I wonder if York, England will sue New York?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Casey, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Here is what the real issue is:

    "Ms. Rodriguez wrote that Fishs Eddy ceramic ware “interferes with the Port Authority’s control of its own reputation."

    And it isnt the first time that groups have tried this with Fishs:

    "Ms. Gaines faced a similar challenge to “212” in 1998, when Tishman Speyer Properties and the Travelers Group, owners of the Chrysler Building, demanded that she remove their landmark from the skyline and promptly destroy all remaining inventory."

    Personally, I would tell them all to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:52am

    email Veronica

    Here is a place to send her an email with your thoughts:

    http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/10003-ny-veronica-rodriguez-3811307/contact.html

    I'm sure she would like hearing from everyone with an opinion on her (and the Port Authority's) bullying attitude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:55am

    Re: What's the commerce angle?

    If the Port Authority has an "eat a bowl of dicks" list, there may be a little overlap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    “interferes with the Port Authority’s control of its own reputation."

    If they have been in control of their own reputation, why does it suck so bad?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Alt0, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    Profiting on said graphic reproductions is not mentioned?

    Personally, I think its about the most counter-productive thing for the city to do. They spend millions on promoting the city, one would think they would welcome such activity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    I do not see how this can possibly be a colorable trademark claim, either. Even if it were, I fail to see how the NY Port Authority would have standing to enforce it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    ...no-one is ever in control over their own reputation. Reputation isn't the sole province of any one particular being. It has to do with how Party A sees Party B. There's no way Party B can exclude Party from the equation.
    If anyone was in control over their own reputation, then each person would be able to declare "I'm a great person" and sue everyone else the instant anyone said otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re:

    I've been waiting for people to start claiming that "reputation" is a form of "intellectual property". Maybe it's not that far off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re:

    They do welcome such activity, as long as it's purchased from the port authority gift shop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Proper response...

    Isn't the Hudson already full of shit?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Reputation has been a form of intellectual property for centuries, as trademark law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:29am

    My reply

    "No."

    Ball is in your court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    DB (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:32am

    What, they own "If you see something.."?

    Oh, wait, I was thinking of "Don't suspect your neighbor, turn them in!". From Brazil. A movie. Over-the-top fiction, at the time. It's now must less engaging because it looks like regular life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re:

    no-one is ever in control over their own reputation

    Not acting like an asshole seems to work for most people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:44am

    If you see something, say something

    So if the MTA owns "If you see something, say something", does that not mean that I could be violating their IP rights by actually saying something if I see something?

    Thank goodness you have made me aware. I could have potentially made the mistake of seeing something and then violating their rights by telling someone about an impending disaster. You really have to do the math, on one hand you have the lives of hundreds of people on a subway and on the other hand, you have the 172% of Americans (based on their numbers) who rely on IP protection for their livelihood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Trademark law is about consumer confusion, not reputation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Padpaw (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    the serfs do not own anything in the eyes of the "self perceived elite"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    sneaking.ninja, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:57am

    those looks nice
    i wonder if they will ship to norway :D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 11:05am

    Does the authority hire educated lawyers?

    Or they hire those with racketeer background? One can't own a skyline.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 11:10am

    Re: Speaking as a Brit ...

    Why, some already attempted to sell land plots on the Moon :) With the same level of success, the Port Authority can claim they prohibit using images of the Martian canals, because they are called canals...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Bt Garner (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re: Trademark this…

    I always liked "I H8 NY" -- maybe I can trademark that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 11:48am

    how dare you make prints of public property that is in plain view of millions of people on some bits of ceramic!!! HOW DARE YOU SIR

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    1) Take picture of something iconic
    2) Transfer picture to ceramic disk

    There - now at least the obvious steps are documented.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 12:38pm

    OMG

    If there's one thing worse than liberalism run amock, it's insane copyright maximalist liberals!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    EVERYTHING IS MINE!
    /orangelantern

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    reputation? oh yah!

    It seems that their reputation has now been defined for posterity. They are delusional idiots, there can be no more controversy on that matter any longer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    Sorry, the Brooklyn Bridge is not a Port Authority Property. They'll have to jump off of the GWB...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Reputation is an externally-seated trait. You can't possibly control reputation unless we're living in a science fiction reality where you can hack other people's minds. You can certainly attempt to influence your reputation in the minds of others, but control is not possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you serious? Trademark law has nothing to do with reputation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:25pm

    Re:

    I think Chris-Mouse already pointed that out by linking to the section of the Copyright Act 1976 that you just quoted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: What's the commerce angle?

    LOL!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ordinarily, yes. However, with the way trademark law has been abused over the past few decades...
    Example: "That person can't sell parody versions of our products for dogs, we have tradematrks!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Kyle, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 10:34pm

    In a letter to Fishs Eddy dated July 24, Veronica Rodriguez, a lawyer for the authority, asked the store to stop selling anything with these "assets" on them, and to "destroy all materials, documents and other items bearing the assets."

    "Your use of the Port Authority’s assets on dinnerware and other items is of great concern to the Port Authority," she wrote.


    Is Ms Rodriguez even serious? How is this even helping tourism to NY with this kind of thing going on?

    Ok, here's another solution: edit the skyline to eliminate those assets and reprint the skyline without them. There must be far more attractive buildings behind these assets that are probably more worth looking at.

    Oh, and here's another question: Is the port authority a government department / institution? If so, then the average Joe Citizen owns them by virtue of having paid taxes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:14am

    Re: Speaking as a Brit ...

    "Now who's gonna claim the rights to the sky "

    Rupert Murdoch has the trademark already...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    JustMe (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:24am

    you can't take the sky from me

    Ballad of Serenity
    lyrics and music by Joss Whedon
    sung by Sonny Rhodes

    take my love
    take my land
    take me where I cannot stand
    I don't care
    I'm still free
    you can't take the sky from me

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    DBM, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 5:41pm

    I'm so glad I don't live in that area anymore. Those people are disgusting. Tired of dealing with them.

    BTW does the store have a website?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 4:23pm

    I 💔 PANYNJ

    All I have to say to the Port Authority of NY and NJ is

    I 💔 PANYNJ

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Trademark this…

    Do they have a trademark on

    I 💗 NYC or just I 💗 NY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Keisar Betancourt, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 10:47pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:30am

    which doesn't matter anyway since as a public entity, he owns them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2014 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Supposedly, but that's not how it has been treated in practice for a while now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Aug 4th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Ok, here's another solution: edit the skyline to eliminate those assets and reprint the skyline without them. There must be far more attractive buildings behind these assets that are probably more worth looking at.
    Better yet, replace all the Port Authority buildings on the skyline with dicks. Then advertise your dishes as "bowls of dicks".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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