Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Parody trade dress and naked licensing

Despair, Inc. produces Demotivators, counters to the "inspirational" posters that dot American businesses like cheerful pimples. The style is distinctive enough to deserve trade dress protection, I believe. But Despair also offers a DIY utility so that you can upload your own photo and treat it in demotivational style. Here's mine:

There are no terms and conditions of use visible on the page, and even if there were, this might serve as naked licensing sufficient to destroy trade dress rights. Does it matter that the licensed uses are probably all noncommercial?

Okay, mostly this post was an excuse to show off this picture. But it's still an interesting question.

1 comment:

Michael La Porte said...


Love reading your blog.