Canucks and Beyond

NHL Cracking Down on Copyright Violators. Again.

05/16/2011 at 5:46pm EDT

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:

image

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?

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