Kukla's Korner

Canucks and Beyond

NHL Cracking Down on Copyright Violators. Again.

From Globe Montreal via Saskatoon:

A Montreal restaurant is in trouble for committing foul play with the Habs and the NHL.

After hanging a banner that contained unauthorized use of the Habs logo, the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens hockey club are suing the restaurant for $89,000.

“There is no way I can come up with this money, I am not going to pay them,” said Basha restaurant owner, Fadl Issa.

“I wanted only to do publicity for the Canadiens…. We are Canadians and we should be proud to support our own team,” he said.

The advertising signage the NHL and Canadiens are upset about:


Vancouver fans aren’t unfamiliar with this type of powerplay by the league, having seen a similar response from the NHL a few weeks ago. 

While I certainly appreciate the importance the league must assign to issues of their protected property—their name and logos—I truly wonder where the line is supposed to be drawn.  If businesses are promoting the NHL’s sport—often by paying enormous cable fees to be able to show games in their commercial establishments—shouldn’t there be a better balance on the issue of “copyright enforcement’ vs “wow, other people want to help us to promote our sport!”?

When you read the full story, it’s obvious that Basha has been pushing their luck with this stuff for a while. But regardless of that, I can’t see how anyone with any common sense would look at that restaurant sign and think “Oh, clearly they’re affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens.”  From where I’m sitting, it’s a clearly a “We’re fans, too” kind of sign.  Not unlike the Vancouver example I mentioned above.

I’ve joked about it a lot, but I’m really starting to wonder… how long before I’m in copyright violation if I walk out of the house in my Canucks jersey?


Filed in: business of hockey, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink



I am sure that if you pay a monthly fee to the Canucks, they will not have a problem with you wearing their jersey smile  I think the league is out of control on this stuff and as long as Basha is legally receiving the games, they show in their restaurant, I don’t see why they would have a problem with this.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 05/16/11 at 05:51 PM ET


Can we still make signs to take to games?

“thank-you fans!” ~NHL 2005

Posted by aaron in phoenix from Section 102 on 05/16/11 at 05:58 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

The league is getting weirder all the time.  Maybe the guy with the knife isn’t promoting racial stereotypes that the league wants to be associated with, but all the same, $89,000?  Come on.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/16/11 at 05:59 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Really…have these people never heard of a cease and desist order?

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 05/16/11 at 06:02 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Uh, excuse me “aaron in phoenix,” but your avatar is a direct violation of NHL copyright. Please fork over $25,000,000.


Gary Bettman

(Hey, it’s worth a try…it worked with the city of Glendale)


Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 05/16/11 at 06:06 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Wow, hard to believe this is happening in Montreal.

Alanah, in all your seriousness, a huge portion of the high cost of that jersey is covering the various licensing agreements, so fret not - you’re safe from Gary and his IP-enforcing goons.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 05/16/11 at 06:07 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Good to hear my jersey is safe. Sorry to hear about Aaron’s avatar, though… wink

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 05/16/11 at 06:27 PM ET


Uh, excuse me “aaron in phoenix,” but your avatar is a direct violation of NHL copyright. Please fork over $25,000,000.

Sorry to hear about Aaron’s avatar, though…

Hahaha, But it’s a photo I took of my jersey…don’t turn me in! Please don’t release my IP address, I can’t afford to pay fines AND go to games.

“Thank-you fans!”

Posted by aaron in phoenix from Section 102 on 05/17/11 at 01:12 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

NHL = fail

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/17/11 at 09:56 AM ET

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About Canucks and Beyond

Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.

In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.

So that's me. Who the hell are you? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]