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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thoughts on Copyright and Libel

I think that since I'm getting this blog back up and active, I need more thought-provoking posts than just my Facts of the Day and whatnot. So while watching some shows on Hulu this morning (one of my only remaining sources of full commercials), I had one of my random thoughts:

It was from watching an ad for Red Bull. Maybe you've had the same thoughts as well.

So as you all likely know, the catchprase for Red Bull is that it "gives you wings". I'm almost certain they've got some kind of copyright or trademark on that catchphrase/slogan by now, judging by how long it's been used by them and how nobody else has used it that I can think of to this day.

So here's the conundrum: if science is improving where it comes to genomes and DNA and radiation therapy - isn't it just a matter of time before we have a product that really affects your genetics enough to catalyze the growth of actual human wings?

Now I'm not saying these will be fully-functional wings that will allow human flight and make ground transportation obsolete or have pedestrians needing to be careful for more than little white blips falling from the sky. I'm just saying they will be grown from the human body and resemble wings. I'm sure we already have the laser technology to have some plastic surgeon modify your eyeballs so they look exactly like a cat's eye - that doesn't mean it would be able to function exactly like the feline eye.

So here's the question: If this product finally comes to the marketplace, will they be allowed to use the slogan "gives you wings" in their advertisements?

I mean the facts are facts - it will give you wings. So technically it's a statement and not necessarily an advertisement. But would Red Bull be able to sue? I mean, when all things are considered, they're legally making false accusations - Red Bull does not actually give you wings. Isn't that false advertisement already? Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but does Red Bull have one of those disclaimers on their advertisements saying "Red Bull does not actually give you wings and you should not jump out of a goddamned window because you drank one and think you have wings now, you braindead moron" somewhere in fine print?

Shouldn't they? Did I miss one of those ridiculous lawsuits that popped up in the mid-to-late-90s of mentally-deficient plaintiffs who sued companies for hot coffee that was served hot, or hair driers that didn't specifically say not to use them while in a running shower? I mean if a Superman costume has to provide a warning to children that it will not actually give them the power to fly (because we know children are dumb enough to try it and likely did and caused a lawsuit), doesn't Red Bull need one of those disclaimers?

I think we need to get some failures of life on this. Grab some Red Bull, power it down, and "gives you wings" your way off the roof and onto the pavement in a lovely tableau that will convince a jury of your peers that Red Bull totally needs to provide some dummy disclaimers or stop telling the masses that it "gives you wings" - until it actually CAN give you wings.

Or maybe we should pool our resources into that first thing - the product that actually will give you wings. I think that's a lot more helpful to society. Although society is full of a lot of guys who're more likely to roof-jump than develop a gene-altering wing-growing product.

So maybe we can do both. I'm just saying there are legal implications here that need addressing.

What do you think? False advertising? Disclaimer needed? Leave a comment and let me know!

And then Digg this article!

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