so, if I ran the CLC, this is exactly how I would've handled this situation.
The first thing you
do, is you look at the company, and try to figure out the scope of infringement.
If they are marketing shirts and images that look like pre-existing shirts
and images (Like the Nike shoes that are spelled Nlke), then clearly you
have to lay the smack down a little harder.
The second thing you do is you check to see if they have a past record.
If they've broken this law before, and they should KNOW better, then you
can go ahead and proceed with DefCon 3, as James did.
If it looks like a couple of kids having fun, making videos, and trying
to raise a little money to buy a nicer camera, then you think to yourself
"You know what. These kids seem alright.
While I do have the legal authority to be a cold, distant, forceful bastard
right now, it is an option I can choose to take, or not take, and given
that I am not soulless, I will treat this person with a little bit of
consideration, because the truth is, they are breaking a law that honestly,
most people don't know about."
So then you write the following letter:
Dear Gators vs Buckeyes guys,
Hi, we stumbled
across your site, and the videos are funny, congrats.
But unfortunately, you have actually infringed a bit on the University
of Florida's trademarks. You probably didn't know that you did it, it's
a pretty obscure rule, but we have to enforce it, that's what UF pays
us to do.
The way that other shirtmakers get away with it is this: they contact
us, and sign up for a license, which costs them $X per shirt. It's not
a ton, but that money goes to (Who
knows what. I'll be optimistic and say kids with cancer but it probably
pays for turf.)
Now, if you'd like, as the shirts aren't terribly offensive or anything,
you can retroactively apply for a license.
us roughly how many shirts you've sold (please be honest, our rates are
reasonable) and remit the balance, and we'll send you the licensing paperwork,
and then you'll be able to put "LICENSED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA"
on your homepage, which will probably boost your sales a bit, and cover
the licensing costs.
Good luck, and have fun Monday! Feel free to call me if you have any questions,
one would ever write this letter, because it makes too much sense to write
this letter. This letter is filled with compassion, understanding, and
knowledge. Most organizations are not built on those things, but built
on the thrill that comes from having the legal right to tell someone to
stop doing something.
Sadly, this is really one of the under-realized, biggest problems we face
in the world today. Unnecessary Cruelty. In Footballese, it'd be a 20(?)
Yard penalty. Roughing the Writer.
What happens, is Person A is meaner than they have to be, to person B.
Person B, is then in a foul mood, and reacts a little more abrasively
to persons C-F, who then (if they aren't in great controls of their mood)
do the same to persons G-M.
It's emotional Amway, a pyramid scheme that just serves to irk as many
people as possible. Totally avoidable, and innundates nearly every interaction
you have. Being bounced out of a club, getting a speeding ticket, being
told you have insufficent funds, whatever. These are all interactions
that are already combustible, so a lack of compassion brings far too much
The weirdest thing about this, is that -this- is the stand from which
I stage a 'rallying' cry. Our parents got to fight the Civil Rights movement,
Vietnam, etc.. I get to bitch about a T-Shirt. Although, lets be real.
-getting- to fight the Civil Rights movement isn't any great prize. HAVING
to fight it, is horrendous, so maybe this is progress? I wonder if life
is more interesting when the villains are more clear-cut?