Claim: NY Yankee top hat logo copies her uncle’s 1936 design

by Walter Olson on April 22, 2011

A spokeswoman for the baseball team said there was “no proof” of the woman’s claim. “This is a wonderful country,” said [Alice] McGillion, “where anybody can sue for anything, even when the allegations are over 70 years old.” [NY Post] More: Unbeige (on possible evidence for claim).

Also on sports logo law: “Can I legally get myself tattooed with a pro sports team’s logo?” [Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope]


1 Ron Coleman 04.24.11 at 2:55 pm

Preposterous! Proof or otherwise.

There ought to be a law.

2 Dan T. 04.24.11 at 3:05 pm

None of the articles on this case are clear about exactly what sort of legal claim is being made. The only one I can think of that might make any sense would be a copyright extension-term reclamation, as permitted by the law at various points in the lifespan of a copyright, in which the original creator of something revokes an earlier license of the copyright to somebody else. One of the times when this can happen is at the 75th year of a pre-1978 copyright, when the extended 20 year term added in a subsequent law would kick in; that would be right about now for a 1936 copyright. This would, however, depend on the author having a valid copyright that began in 1936 and remains in effect, and a valid assignment of copyright to the Yankees; I gather the team is denying the artist ever had those rights in the first place, and in the absence of a copyright registration I’m not sure they’d exist for a copyright from the era when such formalities were required. On the other hand, it is claimed that the artist was a non-American at the time, and there are special provisions as a result of treaty obligations that have allowed the restoration of copyrights on foreign works that had lapsed. So it could get complicated.

3 Pam 04.24.11 at 5:51 pm

Unpublished work. Complaint here.

4 Bob Lipton 04.24.11 at 7:14 pm

And no one noticed for eighty-five years?


5 derKase 04.25.11 at 1:14 pm

The uncle ripped off the design from the 94th Fighter Squadron emblem made famous by Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker in WWI.

If anybody, the USAF should be suing.

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