Ah America. Land of early onset diabetes and frivolous litigation.
Kelly Howlett is a professional artist from Wisconsin who has run afoul of Summit Entertainment as a result of a bizarre Twilight trademark. She had an image of one of her original paintings forcibly removed from Zazzle.com, where she was trying to sell it.
Turns out that she was violating Summit Entertainment’s trademark of the date that she uploaded the image. Yes, the date.
Kelly first became aware that there was a problem when Zazzle removed the image and informed her that “Your product has been removed from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to an infringement claim by Summit Entertainment. This may be due to the actual design of the product, description, search tags or character names that references the Twilight Saga which is owned by Summit Entertainment.”
But this was a bit mystifying, as the painting was a complete original and had nothing to do with the Twilight franchise.
After some digging, Kelly discovered that the reason that the image was removed, was because it was tagged with “11-20-09″, the date on which she had completed her artwork. This also happens to be the date that Twilight: New Moon was released.
Yep, Summit had gone and trademarked the date, saying that they own it and that nobody else may profit from it. Welcome to Crazyville, America. Population: Summit Entertainment.
Kelly wrote up the whole affair over on her Facebook page, where she also makes this very important observation:
“I doubt that anyone at Summit Entertainment even saw my image. I’m sure they just have a bot trolling Google Marketplace to issue threats. All these anti-piracy laws are scaring me because it’s just assumed that these companies are right, and if not, their army of lawyers can certainly outlast my bank account. If someone like Summit wanted to claim my artwork was infringing their intellectual property simply because it was created the same day as the release date of a movie… I couldn’t fight it if I wanted to. I’m hating the idea of a company being able to call up my website host and have my content removed simply because they objected to it.”
She has since rehosted the image on a different website and has thus far not experienced any further legal issues, but still, the fact that this happened at all is not only concerning but completely ludicrous.
And in case you were wondering, yes, this article is indeed tagged with 11-20-09. What can I say, I am a desktop revolutionary.
Source: Bleeding Cool