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When Capitalism Goes Too Far…

January 30, 2010

If you want to use/advertise this phrase in the next week (whether you’re a Saints fan or Colts fan), please attribute the NFL as its rightful owner.

I’m no marketing expert, but at what point does language become trademarkable? Do we have an ethical/constitutional right to take a portion of the English language and force others to recognize our personhood/corporation when they use it? I say “Oh dear goodness” more than any person that I know–does this mean I can trademark that phrase? What purpose would trademarking that phrase serve me or a corporation I wanted to incorporate that phrase with (other than monetary and self-promotion)?

This article has some interesting commentary about the issue–I’m wondering what other personal and more professional insight is out in blog world.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 30, 2010 4:22 pm

    I love thought-provoking posts like this that raise as many questions as answers.

    Isn’t “Three-peat” copyrighted, too? I agree, I think it’s all about the cash and controlling the image, which is also about the cash. In some cases, you could make a consumer-protection argument (you don’t want someone selling knockoff Fords and passing them off as the real thing).

    At the same time, if someone wants to make a living off their ideas or their written words, I guess I don’t see a problem. If someone’s skill lies in the intellectual/literary realm rather than in the trades, I’m not going to begrudge them some legal protection. But then, the lines get murky there, too, like with the Joe Satriani vs Coldplay case awhile back.

    It begs the bigger question as to whether there is anything truly original, or if we are all just riffing off each other, and if the latter is the case, wouldn’t that mean that everything belongs to everyone?

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