This brings me no joy

As many of you know, my baseball loyalties lie with the Yankees. The Evil Empire often catches a lot of flack for acting like, well, an Evil Empire. I’ve defended them time and time again on the internet, to my friends, and to my eternally pessimistic dad. But when the Yankees send this letter to some of their biggest fans, I can’t really defend them:

Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from using
the YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other Yankees Mark and any other MLB
Mark in and as the name of your Website, to promote the Website, to seek advertising any other
commercial opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that would
cause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any sponsorship or
endorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB Entity.

The guys at TYU run a quality blog, and do nothing to take away from the Yankee brand. I don’t see why the use of the Yankee logo and the team name in their website is reason to make them change their website around. If you read the quoted text in the linked post, the Yankees say the website is falsely claiming to be under “some endorsement or sponsorship by the Yankees.” If that’s the problem, the writers should take a page out of RLYW‘s book and put this disclaimer on the top of the site:

Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you’re an idiot. Go away.

I’m no lawyer, but wouldn’t that solve one of the major problems? Taking off the Yankees logos and such would solve the second problem of… displaying logos.

If you have any expertise in this area, please do chime in in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Evan Brunell said...

    The problem isn’t the “Yankees” usage, as I’ve been told—although they ARE demanding “Yankees” be removed. It’s with Yankee Universe—the charity arm of the Yankees created by Randy Levine and also the Yankees’ answer to Red Sox Nation.

  2. Dan Novick said...

    If you want to get really technical here, the “charity arm” you speak of is actually called “Yankees Universe”. The website is the singular version of the Yankee.

  3. B Mills said...

    I’d argue that it’s a very reasonable concern for the Yankees, though I think the better way to handle it is find blogs that they feel could be good for business and partner with them to ensure a brand image is displayed correctly.  I’m not lawyer, but it seems that the disclaimer is a reasonable compromise if that’s not on the agenda.  However, the Yankees could be considered a ‘luxury brand’, in which case they may have a defense similar to that of other luxury brand companies worried about resale of items on the internet.  Only in this case, it’s more of keeping the integrity of an intellectual property right (if that even exists).

    As another example of silly trademark infringement cases, the high school I used to coach at changed its U symbol from an old english style to the Miami U style.  It was exactly the same U, but was Blue and Gray instead of Orange and Green.  Recently, colleges have started cracking down on this, and mid-season we got a letter from Miami University that we needed to change our symbol and remove any apparel, uniforms, or paraphenilia (?) around the school or they would prosecute.  Remember, this is a HIGH SCHOOL!  Last time I checked, there’s no profit there, and every U specifically said ‘Urbana’ above it.  This, I’ve heard from others, isn’t an incident isolated to that school, and I could see similar arguments with online blogs (that reach a much broader audience than a high school).

  4. Dan Novick said...

    My old high school has been using the Iowa Hawkeyes logo for the last few years (we’re the Jayhawks) without incident.

    Users of TYU aren’t taking anything away from the yankees, and that’s mainly why I don’t think it should be a big deal.

  5. Brian M said...

    Dan,

    I’m not saying every school has the concern, but said it to illustrate that I have definitely seen seemingly unreasonable complaints about this sort of thing.

    I make no judgement toward what TYU is representing.  I haven’t read the blog (since I get terribly bored with team-oriented blogs) but I’m sure it’s a legitimately good place to read things about the Yankees. 

    But apparently the Yankees feel that they aren’t being represented in a way that they deem appropriate.  Or perhaps they don’t have a specific problem with TYU, but worry that there could be a slippery slope in allowing more and more blogs to carry their logo and the name that they have for a charity.  I don’t know the reason for it, but I think there is plenty of precedent for something like this.  Wherther it’s legitimate or not, I can’t answer.  I can say that teams and players spend a LOT of time to present a certain image about their charitable endeavors, and there definitely is a risk involved in allowing these names to be used to represent other things.  That’s all.

    In the end, I would probably be a bit peeved if I were the TYU writers, too.

  6. howie said...

    your ever pessimistic dad or as i would say your forever realistic father happens to agree with u.  put up a catchy disclaimer and move on if that works

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