Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stealing James Dean's Name; 200 Authors Open Letter to Russia

Stealing James Dean's Name

It's not possible to maintain a blog dealing with pop culture without sometimes getting into social media and online issues. In this case, I'm talking about whether or not people should be allowed to use the name of the late James Dean on Twitter or any other social media for that matter.

This is also interesting from a legal POV:

The Twitter handle @JamesDean has more than 8,000 followers and has sent more than 2,200 tweets. The account is being managed by an unknown owner or owners, and that's not sitting well with James Dean's estate.
CMG Worldwide, the company that runs the actor's estate, is suing Twitter, claiming @JamesDean isn't trademarked.
"No, we did not sanction the James Dean official Twitter account. There is no official Twitter site for James Dean because it's been misappropriated by an individual," CMG Worldwide CEO Mark Roesler told ABC News.
But the social media giant refuses to shut down the account.
"They're fighting it because they don't want to open the door to lots of claims of people saying hey this was a dead celebrity that needs protection and you're stealing our brand," said attorney Alison Triessl, who is not affiliated with this case.
Twitter did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.
In court documents, an email between Twitter and CMG states "Twitter does not have a username reservation policy."

You can read more here.

I hope someone does a follow up story about this. I've been following a gay blogger who constantly posts photos of sexy gay men and I can't for the life of me figure out how he's getting permission to do this. Every blogger I know is terrified to post any photos unless they know for certain the photos are fair use or public domain. I have a feeling he's just winging it and flying under the radar, so to speak. And eventually someone, somewhere, is going to not only shut him down but file a copyright lawsuit against him.

At the risk of repeating myself, I also think these issues will continue to surface as more people become familiar with the Internet. The days of the old Wild West are coming to a quick end.

 200 Authors Open Letter to Russia

This is big in the sense that the authors who penned this open letter to end gay oppression in Russia are big names. We're talking Jonathan Franzen and Neil Gaimen. And it's one of the first times I've ever seen anything like this happen in my twenty years working in publishing. You can read the full letter here, and also read the list of author names.

I have a feeling Putin couldn't care less. And the power we've given him by not boycotting the Olympics only makes his smile even wider. I hope I'm wrong about that.

The story of modern Russia is the story of dramatic, almost seismic change. Russian voices, both literary and journalistic, have always striven to make themselves heard above the clamour of their nation's unfolding story – commenting on it, shaping it and, in doing so, contributing to the political and intellectual shape of the world far beyond their country's borders.
But during the last 18 months, Russian lawmakers have passed a number of laws that place a chokehold on the right to express oneself freely in Russia. As writers and artists, we cannot stand quietly by as we watch our fellow writers and journalists pressed into silence or risking prosecution and often drastic punishment for the mere act of communicating their thoughts.

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