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What is with the word 'Survivor' lately?
March 20, 2001 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What is with the word 'Survivor' lately? First there was the book by Chuck Palahniuk, then came along the "reality" television show (Don't forget the Survivor Soundtrack) and now there is Destiny's Child new album and single called, yep, "Survivor". Oh, and don't forget the "Survivor" movie based on the book coming out later this year. Last, but not least is the owner of Survivor.com, Survivor Software.
My question is, how come there are not hundreds of lawsuits being thrown around for rights to this name?
posted by Mark (15 comments total)

 
Perhaps because it's too common a word? Or maybe none of the parties create anything that can tie themselves with something else. I doubt Palahniuk's going to get sued by CBS (if his story is anything like Fight Club was), and while Destiny's Child's video may look like something from the TV show, the song itself it just about being a strong woman (from my pov).

I don't know how to relate Survivor software into this.
posted by Cavatica at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2001


...because it's a generic word?

Palahniuk's book is really good, hilarious, very much like fight club, with an edge. I hope the movie does the book justice (fight club's book-> screenplay wasn't too bad). Highly recommended.
posted by mathowie at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2001


Trademark law allows a mark to be owned multiple times as long as it's used in different ways so there's not significant potential for consumer confusion. For example, no one is going to confuse Survivor Software with the TV show because Survivor Software obviously makes software, not television, whereas a TV show is obviously not software.
posted by kindall at 10:31 AM on March 20, 2001


Ah, that makes perfect sence, and makes my post not all that great. :]

Survivor the book is one of my fav's, I just happened to finish it last week. I'm on to "Invisible Monsters" now, also by Chucky.
posted by Mark at 2:14 PM on March 20, 2001


Survivor Software has had that name long before Survivor the TV show.

They don't see any reason to fight for the name, as it is free publicity for them and brings a ton of traffic to their website during the Show's season.
posted by da5id at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2001


Survivor and Invisible Monsters are the same book in disguise.

I won't spoil it for you by elaborating---but, really!
posted by Sapphireblue at 3:30 PM on March 20, 2001


The rock critic Greil Marcus wrote about "survivor" being "the cant word of the '70s" in rock 'n' roll:

'You could read the new ideology off the record titles: "Survivor," "Rock and Roll Survivor," 'You're A Survivor," "I Survive," "Soul Survivor," Street Survivor, Survival, Surviving, "I Will Survive," on and on into endless redundancy.'

Not forgetting, of course, the band Survivor. So none of this is anything new. And none to do with Faulkner's hope that mankind will not just survive, but prevail.
posted by argybarg at 4:53 PM on March 20, 2001


Actually, as relates to the word "Survivor" and the TV/web space, CBS has made some legal noise. Must reading: the story of Survivor.com last summer, as told by the webmaster Conrad. Just hysterical. Also: Tiny Survivor Website Caves to CBS Legal Demands.

Truth be told, I'm a webmaster of the site in the second link above. After posting that press release, we received a phone call from the lawyers for Survivor, the rock band. Seems there's a dispute underway between Survivor the band and Survivor the show. Survivor the show sparked the battle by issuing CDs by "Survivor" and the band had a little problem with that.

So Mark, these things are being played out, albeit behind closed doors.
posted by lock at 5:02 PM on March 20, 2001


Oh man, I completely forgot about the band Survivor, granted that when they were at their height of popularity I was 2 months old.
posted by Mark at 7:29 PM on March 20, 2001


I can see it now, Hulk Hogan and Rocky Balboa face off in the ring -- the thrill of the fight...

...rising up to the challenge of our rival.
posted by dfowler at 8:31 PM on March 20, 2001


When I first heard "Eye of the Tiger" I thought the line "the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night" was "stops to spray in the night." Quite a mental image of the big cat there, guys.
posted by kindall at 11:18 PM on March 20, 2001


Don't forget the upcoming massive (rave) which is coming to the Bay Area this weekend - also called Survivor.
posted by ookamaka at 2:51 AM on March 21, 2001


We live in an age when all our survival needs are taken care of, so we romanticize the 'struggle for survival' that life lacks.
posted by jrbender at 9:18 AM on March 21, 2001


It seems that trademarking a common word like "survivor" is kind of subjective.

"Is it possible to federally register a trademark made up of common or ordinary words?

Yes, if the combination of the words is distinctive. But even if the entire mark is judged to lack sufficient distinctiveness, it can be placed on a list called the supplemental register whereas marks that are considered distinctive (either inherently or because they have become well known) are placed on a list called the principal register. Marks on the supplemental register receive far less protection than do those on the principal register."

How would you define "well known"? By a market research survey?
posted by lowkey at 9:34 AM on March 21, 2001


Quote from nolo.com, sorry.
posted by lowkey at 9:35 AM on March 21, 2001


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