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yay for a copyright/creator/trademark story that turns out well
December 18, 2011 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Calendars: SOLD OUT. Engineering: STILL LOUD For once, an internet story of "that guy stole my hilarious tshirt phrase" that turns out well.

Exhibits A & B: Original shirt & Signals
posted by mathowie (18 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Big hunk of wisdom in the comments: “Also, always give the party in the wrong the ability to back off gracefully.” Should be engraved in granite among the rules for easy life. Makes getting your way so much easier. There are some things that nobody willingly gives up in a negotiation and dignity is at the top of that list.
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:55 PM on December 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Great story by an utterly great creative internet guy. However, in either version that shirt could only be funny to a engineer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:03 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus, in engineering, if it's loud, it should be quieter.
posted by scruss at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


But isn't the original shirt better?
posted by washburn at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2011


But isn't the original shirt better?

Yeah, that's why Signals licensed it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:15 PM on December 18, 2011


The "It's" keeps appearing and disappearing. Also, what happened to the exclamation mark? It got replaced with a colon in the email and didn't appear on the shirt at all.
posted by unliteral at 4:15 PM on December 18, 2011


Metafilter: It got replaced with a colon
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:26 PM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Happy for Malaki ! but I worry that the company will read his blog post and get pissed
posted by rebent at 4:48 PM on December 18, 2011


Metafilter: It got placed in my colon

Wait, what?
posted by yoink at 4:49 PM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I occasionally hear from people telling me that they saw keming on someone else’s merchandise. Sometimes people just take my definition and put it on a shirt. That bothers me. But sometimes people come up with other clever uses for keming in joke form. My favorite is the Leam to kem shirt by Able Parris.
posted by Anything at 5:00 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


...but I thought Mythbusters held all the trademarks on 'Loud Science'...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:35 PM on December 18, 2011


This is a tricky situation — legally, you cannot copyright a short phrase or slogan.

But "professional epigrammatist" Ashleigh Brilliant has successfully defended his copyright of t-shirt-emblazoned phrases that are as short as eleven words. (And claims copyright on phrases as short as four.)

So the litigious option was there all along, if Malki wanted to pursue it. And that might be why the implied legal threat in his so-called "friendly" letter - "Otherwise, I must insist that your shirt be removed from sale" - wasn't just dismissed out of hand by the recipient.
posted by arm's-length at 7:17 PM on December 18, 2011


I would argue that the sonic precedence scale is more like Math < Astronomy < Engineering < Chemistry < Physics.
posted by Twang at 9:02 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing as "loudness" is a subjective human phenomenon (for example things with frequency above or below the range of human hearing by definition cannot be loud), I think psychoacoustics would have to be at the end of the list.
posted by idiopath at 10:13 PM on December 18, 2011


Unobserved tree < observed tree.

I would rather that short phrases weren't protected. If you happen to think of an amusing phrase, the sell tshirts with that phrase, then you're essentially profiting from something that just popped into your head. There's no real work gone into crafting that phrase, and the weird insistence that you own rights to it seems greedy.

Intellectual property rights are fucked up as it is. I would hate to see them extend to pithy one liners.
posted by seanyboy at 1:57 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you please take the 's' from 'Legos' and put it on the end of 'Math'? Thank you. ;-)
posted by DanCall at 3:16 AM on December 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


It should be noted that the commentary bit I quoted above is from the commenter's original words. My own contribution is merely the 'hunk o' wisdom' part - forgive my sloppy italics, that got fixed, for the fixed version makes me look more eloquent than I am.
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:08 AM on December 19, 2011


There's no real work gone into crafting that phrase

That hasn't been my experience.

You don't know that.

You'd be surprised.

Just because it's short doesn't mean it's the first thing that popped into his head.

You may not have to work at pithy short phrases, but other people do.

You may not have to work at pithy short phrases, but that doesn't mean other people don't.

I can tell you don't spend a lot of time on short sentences.

I can tell you don't spend a lot of time on short phrases, but that doesn't mean other people don't.

Some people do spend surprisingly long times crafting short phrases.

Some people do spend long times writing short phrases, making sure every word is just right.

Some people do spend a long time crafting a short phrase, making sure every word is just right.

Some people do spend a long time crafting a short sentence, making sure every word means exactly what they intend.

I guess you're not a perfectionist.

Perfectionists do spend a surprising amount of work refining a short phrase, making sure every word means exactly what they intend.

A short phrase can take a surprising amount of work to get just right.

Short isn't always easy.

...
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:34 AM on December 19, 2011


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