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Who Dat Super?

February 2, 2010

If you haven’t exactly bought my arguments about the woeful regime of intellectual property rights we have hemmed ourselves into, maybe this year’s Super Bowl will change your mind.

Most visibly, the NFL is claiming ownership of the phrase “Who Dat?” at least when it is used in connection with the New Orleans Saints.  Unlike my normal rants, this isn’t a copyright issue per se, since short phrases are almost always immune from copyright.  Here’s it’s trademark law that’s restricting the flow of usage.  Regardless of the origins of the phrase and how it has been used in connection with a trade or business (the relevant trademark considerations), I support Senator Vitter’s open protest of the NFL, and would happily buy one of his bootleg t-shirts if I had the chance, and would certainly encourage other Saints fans to do the same.

As if it weren’t enough to preclude you from wearing what you wanted to on Super Bowl Sunday, you also might need to be wary of how the size of the TV you watch it on.  If you have a 55+ inch TV, you might be closer than you think to violating the public performance right in Copyright, and would have to get separate permission from the NFL to actually watch on your new set, technically speaking.  Of course, Copyright is also the most technically violated law in the world, so don’t put the bacon-nachos away so quickly.

Of course, sometimes one’s goals may be better served if initially stymied and precluded from accessing the Super-audience, if you know how to manipulate the Streisand Effect that is.  Indeed, that seems to be the new strategy for Super Bowl ads: submit your Super Bowl ad and respond in outrage after it’s rejected, thus garnering more publicity and air time than the ad would have generated if was actually aired, all without having to pay for it.  That just goes to show the power of information to get itself heard.

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