Author Topic: Legion Poppy Copyright issues (bikers, NHL, etc.)  (Read 157369 times)

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Offline Occam

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Legion Poppy Copyright issues (bikers, NHL, etc.)
« on: October 26, 2011, 00:03:02 »
Is it any wonder the Legion is suffering from a shortage of new members?

If you'd like to see the offending poppy, go to http://www.cvfr.ca/ and look on the soldier's helmet.  Have a magnifying glass at the ready.



Shared in accordance with the usual caveats...

Original link

Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you


By Scott Taylor, QMI Agency

OTTAWA — The iconic poem In Flanders Fields immortalized the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for Canadian soldiers since the First World War.

But it's also a registered trademark, owned and so closely guarded by the Royal Canadian Legion that a motorcycle club of veterans isn't allowed to include a small one in its own logo without lawyers threatening legal action.

Capt. Michael Blow, president of the Canadian Veteran Freedom Riders (CVFR), who devoted 35 years of his life to the military, has one in his club's crest. It's a little difficult to see, but it's there.

And the Legion doesn't like that one bit.

They had a law firm send a letter to Blow insisting he and his crew of more than 70 riders and veterans immediately remove the image of the poppy from their logo.

The letter says, in part:   

"If we do not have a satisfactory reply within two weeks of the date of this letter, we shall recommend to the Legion that it commence immediate legal proceedings."

The CVFR sometimes raises funds for vets who need help. Blow thought they were all on the same side.

"I honestly don't know how an organization that continually spouts off about how they respect vets can legally hold a copyright on a symbol of remembrance," he said. "I wear the patch for support and honourary respect of veterans."

The poppy is certainly not the focal point of the crest, and he said it's modelled after the British version, but it's the principle that irks him the most.

"For the Legion to turn around and threaten me with litigation because I'm using the poppy is not morally right," he said.

Legion secretary Bill Maxwell agreed it might not sound fair, but there's a reason for the trademark.

"Normally, for personal or private logos, we don't authorize use of the poppy. The poppy trademark was registered in 1948 to ensure that it would never be used for commercial or personal gain or used inappropriately."

He added the image on any logo in the country would most probably not be approved for that reason.

"That's because it's not being used as a symbol of remembrance, but as part of a logo."

Blow scoffed at that.

"Remembrance is the only reason I'm using it," he said.


Offline Lex Parsimoniae

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 00:19:32 »
Irony defined:  The Bikers patch is also copyrighted (#1077086)...

Offline FlyingDutchman

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 00:33:35 »
On the one hand, trademarks must be enforced.  If they let it slide, they can be forced to give up the trademark and then the poppy can be used for what ever purpose by anyone (from what I understand about trademark law, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.)  I would be put off by unflattering depictions.

On the other hand, those are vets who want to use the poppy for remembrance.  People who served our country, and should be honored accordingly.  Perhaps a -small- out of court settlement could be reached to allow them to continue the use of the poppy.  Another solution could be showing the poppy from a different angle, or are all depictions of the poppy trademarked?
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Offline Teeps74

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 00:34:45 »
One of the many examples for why I no longer go near the Legions.
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Offline FlyingDutchman

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 00:37:25 »
Irony defined:  The Bikers patch is also copyrighted (#1077086)...
Quick googling brought this up.

Quote
Copyrights are typically related to original works of authorship, like a book or poem or screenplay or music (lyrics or music), while a trademark relates to brand names, slogans and logos.

So, we have something that is an original piece of work which uses a brand logo.
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 01:12:29 »
One of the many examples for why I no longer go near the Legions.
:goodpost:

But that being said, aren't you afraid of the Legion lawyers, with you having a poppy as your icon at this time of year?  :whistle:

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 05:13:30 »
I took the time to write the RCL last night and told them what I thought of them being anal like this.

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 06:36:54 »
On the other hand, those are vets who want to use the poppy for remembrance.  People who served our country, and should be honored accordingly.  Perhaps a -small- out of court settlement could be reached to allow them to continue the use of the poppy.  Another solution could be showing the poppy from a different angle, or are all depictions of the poppy trademarked?

I'm guessing it's the four-petal poppy image w/the black centre that's copyrighted.  I note the Brit two-petal poppy image (attached and shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.) is also copyrighted.  Mind you, I can't find stories (yet) about the U.K. Legion trying to stop groups from usurping the symbol.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 06:53:55 by milnews.ca »
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 06:40:20 »
If they let it slide, they can be forced to give up the trademark and then the poppy can be used for what ever purpose by anyone .

They could just give specific written permission to use it, different then just not enforcing their trademark...

Offline Teeps74

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 07:39:00 »
:goodpost:

But that being said, aren't you afraid of the Legion lawyers, with you having a poppy as your icon at this time of year?  :whistle:

They can sue me... Does that mean they get my debts? Perhaps I would just filibuster them into exhaustion... I was always good at procrastination.
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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 07:48:18 »
It's time this was challenged by someone. While the Legion may have trademarked their particular drawing of the poppy icon, it doesn't (nor in my opinion ever has) stood solely as a Legion symbol. They have promoted it as a symbol of Remembrance above and beyond any direct Legion connection. No-one sees a poppy and thinks "oh, the Legion must have been here" or "that person must have been sold that poppy by a Legionnaire." They've made their own bed, perhaps they should have trademarked it as "The Legion Poppy" and made certain that it was only sold and referred to as such.

Although this source is most likely primarily American in its legal contexts, its premise applies: Genericized trademark

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 08:47:20 »
A quick bit of hunting, and you can see the poppy that's trademarked by the Legion:

http://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/vwTrdmrk.do;jsessionid=0001RAnz-4cUTejWJK-JyD9Egt2:-52L6HB?lang=eng&status=OK&fileNumber=1094997&extension=0&startingDocumentIndexOnPage=31

http://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/vwTrdmrk.do;jsessionid=0001RAnz-4cUTejWJK-JyD9Egt2:-52L6HB?lang=eng&status=OK&fileNumber=0980289&extension=0&startingDocumentIndexOnPage=31


Thus, using the UK version in Canada should permit folks to avoid engaging the Legion.

(Note:  I am not a lawyer.  Even if I was, taking legal advice from a random person on the internet is not advisable).
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2011, 08:51:13 »
Check out the CVFR website, "In the Press". Second story has them holding a ceremony in Orleans at the Legion as a "shadow repatriation". Legion wants them to be there and drink their beer...

Offline 57Chevy

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2011, 09:24:38 »
or used inappropriately

Someone please explain to me how they are using it inappropriately.

Let them take it to court.

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 09:25:05 »
It's time this was challenged by someone. While the Legion may have trademarked their particular drawing of the poppy icon, it doesn't (nor in my opinion ever has) stood solely as a Legion symbol. They have promoted it as a symbol of Remembrance above and beyond any direct Legion connection. No-one sees a poppy and thinks "oh, the Legion must have been here" or "that person must have been sold that poppy by a Legionnaire." They've made their own bed, perhaps they should have trademarked it as "The Legion Poppy" and made certain that it was only sold and referred to as such.

Although this source is most likely primarily American in its legal contexts, its premise applies: Genericized trademark

I agree.  It's seems every year around now the Legion manages to literally shoot itself in the foot, be it this or the old lady making poppy cookies to honour those who make that last trip down the 401 from Trenton. The "leadership" is selfserving and needs to be dealt with, and I'm speaking as a Legion member. ::)
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2011, 09:26:45 »
The solution is simple: everyone, except the RCL, should stop using the poppy. Stop buying them, stop wearing them, stop displaying them.

The poppy was selected as our "symbol of remembrance" for pretty obvious reasons:



It used to be that they were worn on Remembrance Day only, then, gradually, we went to wearing them for a whole week before Remembrance Day, then from 1 Nov onward. Now I see them in late Oct and every time some people say the word "veteran" (a class of people to whom the poppy does not apply) they whip out their poppy and pin it on their lapel. The poppy has gone from being part of a "Act of Remembrance" to being a prop without which the well dressed politico or newsreader must never be seen.

By all means wear your poppy, the one your bought last year, on 11 Nov - but let's let the darned thing wither and die.

"All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.
But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore."

Ecclesiasticus 44:7, 9, 10& 14

They, our war dead, don't need poppies because they "were the glory of their times" and "their name liveth for evermore" - that's probably sufficient.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2011, 09:38:47 »
The trademark brand and copyright images can be licensed by the Legion for certain uses in accordance with their brand guidelines.
Anyway, trademark licensing is one of the intended purposes of having a trademark registration system. 

 
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Offline GhostofJacK

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2011, 10:35:24 »
Forgive my possible ignorance here, but isn't the case with copyright laws that if you use the original material in a composition IOT make something new, then you are not breaking copyright laws? I thought that was the rule protecting musical artists that sample each other or digital artists that use pieces/sample from other's work.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2011, 10:37:03 »
This is trademark, not copyright law.  There are significant differences.

However, the TM of the Legion is quite specific in terms of design.  Using the UK style of poppy would not be covered by the Legion's TM; similarly, the white poppies used by some groups are also not covered.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2011, 10:41:56 »
This is trademark, not copyright law.  There are significant differences.

However, the TM of the Legion is quite specific in terms of design.  Using the UK style of poppy would not be covered by the Legion's TM; similarly, the white poppies used by some groups are also not covered.


Then perhaps, in order not to offend the RCL's legal rights, members who use the poppy as their avatar should change to something like this:

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2011, 10:48:47 »
The solution is simple: everyone, except the RCL, should stop using the poppy. Stop buying them, stop wearing them, stop displaying them.

Please don't forget the RCL Poppy Trust Fund and its daily good work: http://www.legion.ca/ServiceBureau/BenevolentFunds_e.cfm

Each year approximately 18 million poppies are distributed by Legionnaires, Veterans and cadets across the nation. The proceeds, after deducting expenses such as the costs of poppies, wreaths and other supplies, are placed in trust to be used for the benevolent support of Veterans and their dependants.

The primary purpose of the Poppy Trust Fund is to provide financial assistance to ex-servicemen and women in need, and to their dependants. In accordance with the General By-laws of The Royal Canadian Legion, the need may be for shelter, food, fuel, clothing, prescription medicine or necessary transportation. Comforts for ex-service personnel and their surviving spouses who are hospitalized and in need may also be provided. These comforts are defined as confectioneries, reading material, flowers, personal toiletry articles, and other items of a similar nature.

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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2011, 10:54:49 »
 
One of the many examples for why I no longer go near the Legions.

Couldn't agree more.  I have no interest in joining the legion and this just adds to that. No one from my generation seems to have any real interest in it either. The legion feels like a bunch of civilians running it who 'put up' with having to be associated with the current CF but don't like it.

I've stopped going to the legion for things like suppers put on for afghan vets and I won't go visiting on rememberence day anymore.

Every year around this time there is some story about the legion getting angry and offended over something.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2011, 11:05:10 »
Looking closlely, I cannot really tell which version of the poppy it is.  Heck, if someone didn't tell me it was a poppy, I might have even noticed it there.
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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2011, 11:15:43 »
This one was my favourite......



Legion burns cookies

Bakery told to nix poppy tribute



By JOE WARMINGTON

Last Updated: 6th November 2009, 5:33am


First it was the Highway of Heroes pins shunned and now the Royal Canadian Legion feels the baking of poppy cookies is violating the rules, too.
What was it John McCrae wrote in his 1915 poem In Flanders Fields?
"Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw, the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die; We shall not sleep though poppies grow; In Flanders fields."
Somehow the Canadian doctor on the frontlines of the First World War who immortalized the poppy wasn't thinking this when he wrote of a "quarrel with the foe" and "the torch" be ours to hold high.
But sadly here we are 94 years later.

Imagine even the suggestion that a Cobourg bakery, fulfilling the order of some poppy cookies for the family of a fallen Canadian soldier from the Afghanistan conflict, would be breaking the copyright rules for the poppy?






"That would be a violation of the trademark," explains Royal Canadian Legion spokesman Bob Butt, adding the legion understands people are "well meaning" when they use the poppy and unaware of the rules.
But rules are rules.
"You would not believe the misuses of the poppy we have to investigate," Butt says.
Unaware of this copyright, the people at the Dutch Oven Bakery say that, now that they know, "we won't fulfil the order if asked again next year."
We are supposed to be at war with the Taliban, not each other. We have Canadians at bitter odds over who gets to use the poppy to raise money for victims of war.
Can't imagine our brave soldiers dying in battle for this.
And although the legion has taken a tough stand at the top end, not everybody agrees at the branch level.
"They have got to get their head out of their butts," says Wayne Powell, poppy chairman for Scarborough's Legion Branch 258 and a retired 54 Division copper.
"They are turning down an opportunity to raise a lot of money for veterans' families. These things will sell like hotcakes."
The part that irks him is that there seems to be selective fairness. He says the legion permits the use of the poppy for certain events and charities, while declining others.
And Powell can't understand why it's OK for a hockey team to use a poppy on its sweater to raffle off but not pins and cookies.
He feels it should be equal for everybody and he also wants a softer approach from legion brass, saying for them to go easier on the threatening lawyer letters.
However, Butt points out that the legion has the right to do with the poppy what it feels is in its best interest and that none of it has ever been for commercial use.
The money it raises, he says, is used very well.
Meanwhile, those baking cookies or who've made the pins certainly had no intention of breaking any rules and had the best of intentions of helping military families.
Butt says it has nothing to do with that. It isn't theirs to use. It's that simple. The fact is the legion "has the copyright" on the poppy.
"In the case of the Highway of Heroes pins, permission to use the poppy was not sought and permission was not granted."
He says those pins create direct competition for the poppy fund, which already generates $15 million a year.
"That money goes directly to the veterans," Butt says. "Does the money from the cookies?"
The Highway of Heroes pins have raised more than $8,000 for Afghanistan war veterans' families, but the legion says that isn't the point.
There's a principle here and there are guidelines being broken.
Meanwhile, Paul Hallas, the Ganaraska Credit Union CEO who donated $10,000 to make the pins to raise money and awareness for families, says: "What am I supposed to do with the 2,500 pins?"
"He can give them to us and we will destroy them," Butt says.
CORPORATE MENTALITY
It seems rigid. Cold. Corporate. Branch 258's Powell says give them to him and he'll raise $50,000 to help families who need help. Damn the protocol!
Both sides make points and there's a way to work this out without it further muddying the pristine image of the poppy, of which every Canadian living free has a piece of in their hearts.
There's enough poppy to go around for everybody if it means getting more help to the brave men and women who defend our nation.
In the middle of writing this, I re-read medic John McCrae's In Flanders Fields and couldn't find the words copyright infringement, exclusive or cease and desist anywhere.
What you'll find is a passage that reads:
"We are the dead. Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields."
Let's not forget that or them. In the name of those who died under our flag, what we need here is compromise.
JOE.WARMINGTON@SUNMEDIA.CA

Reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act




I find it crass that they would use a lawyer to send the cease and desist.  Why not try with asking directly.  I mean, they were just putting it on a bike patch, not makeing products and selling it on ebay.

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Re: Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2011, 11:22:23 »
I am wondering if the Legion's lawyers will next go after every flower shop, landscaper and garden store like Home Depot for selling poppies and their seeds from which the profits to do not go to the RCL. ???
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