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Super Bowl

Super Bowl ads in review

by Walter Olson on February 3, 2014

A Georgia lawyer aired an ad bizarre enough that it’s made the rounds of the legal sites:

More from Lowering the Bar (“As Rolling Stone suggests, it is a little problematic that the ad depicts him desecrating a grave and smashing a grave marker, even if he does it with a flaming sledgehammer named after his dead brother and to a badass metal soundtrack.”)

Meanwhile, over at Cato at Liberty, I’ve got a commentary on the Coca-Cola ad with at least a tangential relation to language law, the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressives, and the gracefulness of being good winners regarding the success of English assimilation.

A lawyer representing a fan has sued the National Football League for allegedly breaking New Jersey state law by making just 1 percent of Super Bowl tickets available to the general public at face value. A section of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act reads, “It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets’ release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5% of all available seating for the event.” (But does “person [with] access” refer to the original event organizers, or only to middlemen who acquire tickets for resale?) The lawsuit “says it’s on behalf of all ticket buyers who have paid more than face amount for their tickets, along with anybody who couldn’t afford to buy tickets in an exorbitant secondary market, but who still wanted them.” [NJ.com] More: the NFL made me do it! [Abnormal Use]

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Samsung Super Bowl ad

by Walter Olson on February 4, 2013

It makes fun of the NFL’s overzealous protection of the Super Bowl trademark:

Ron Coleman has yet another installment in the ongoing annual saga of legal jeopardy for organizations that promote their wares (big-screen TVs, snacks) by referring to a certain football weekend event as the “Super Bowl,” rather that dodge behind the phrase “Big Game” or something equivalent. He corrects Consumer Reports on its assertion that the law provides an exemption for “news organizations,” which is not actually the case, though many uses by news organizations would in practice be exempted as fair use. Earlier here, etc.

More: “It’s Time to Stand Up to the NFL and Call It the Superbowl” [Paul Alan Levy]

On Super Bowl Sunday, E-Trade ran one of their annoying talking-baby commercials; this one featured a blond baby named “Lindsay” (the 380th most popular baby-girl name in 2008) that another baby calls a “milk-aholic.” This, says 23-year-old Lindsay Lohan, was a violation of the rights to her “name and characterization”; she’s sued in Nassau County, New York state court, and is asking for $100 million. The advertising agency says Baby Lindsay was named after someone on the ad team. [lawsuit via TMZ; NY Post; Reuters]

Commenter Richard Nieporent reminds us of the similar Spike Lee vs. Spike TV silliness.

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As collected by Bitter Lawyer.

February 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 3, 2010

Every year it seems to get worse, or better, depending on your perspective, notes Ron Coleman. Earlier years here, here, here, etc., as well as “Who Dat?”

Super Bowl Time

by Walter Olson on January 21, 2009

Which means, for the NFL, aggressive deployment of trademark lawyers time. Earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

One of the many things I like about my girlfriend is that she’s the one who wants us to get a bigger television. Of course, if we got too big a television, we might not be able to hold our annual Super Bowl party: the NFL is sending around its annual set of scare letters to anyone offering a public exhibition of the Super Bowl on a television larger than 55 inches. (Jacqueline L. Salmon, WaPo, “NFL Pulls Plug On Big-Screen Church Parties For Super Bowl”, Feb. 1). Yes, you’ve seen this story before: Feb. 3 and Jan. 31 last year.

Update: and at the WSJ ($).

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The match continues between Brooklyn lawprof Wendy Seltzer and the National Football League (see Feb. 22)(Jacqui Cheng, “NFL fumbles DMCA takedown battle, could face sanctions”, ArsTechnica, Mar. 20; Lattman, Mar. 21; Ambrogi, LegalBlogWatch, Mar. 22).

“My first DMCA takedown”

by Walter Olson on February 22, 2007

Wendy Seltzer tries a little experiment, posting a video on YouTube of the NFL’s copyright notice displayed at the Super Bowl, not the football play itself. It takes five days for the takedown notice to arrive. (Feb. 13, Dec. 15)(via Volokh).

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“Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime show may be a lot of things, but it’s apparently not worth $5,000. A judge rejected a Utah lawyer’s claim that CBS owner Viacom should pay him $5,000 for having to see Jackson’s bared breast during the Feb. 1 show. Eric Stephenson, contending false advertising, sued Viacom in small-claims court.” (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, May 27). On the earlier Boobgate lawsuit by Terri Carlin of Knoxville, Tenn., see Feb. 5, Feb. 8 and Feb. 14.

Super Bowl Kerfuffle

by Ted Frank on February 5, 2004

By popular demand: “Terri Carlin wants to make Janet Jackson’s bare breast into a federal case.” (“Tenn. Woman Files Suit Over Super Bowl”, AP, Feb. 5; Randy Kenner, “State of undress causes distress”, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Feb. 5; complaint). See updates Feb. 8, Feb. 14 (case withdrawn); May 28 (another case loses).

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