It seems like all the really juicy museum stories have been coming out of California lately and we continue the trend here. The small Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is suffering, like most other institutions, lugging around behind it a seven million dollar deficit. While fundraisers and volunteers have helped to push the museum along, a new problem has sprung up: the grandson of one of the original founders of the club-turned-museum, Ryan Rittenhouse, has begun using their logo for his own clothing line, having discovered that the brand was never copyrighted and so he snapped it up as quickly as he could. Now that the museum is in more trouble than in financial hiccups in the past, they’re trying to reach out to Rittenhouse, but thus far, to no avail:
[Dan Young] said club members have asked Rittenhouse for their logo back and for partial proceeds to benefit the surfing museum, in exchange for licensing rights or another agreement. But a deal could not be reached.
Now, club members said, they’re looking at a court case. “He took sales away from us and never did give anything back,” said Howard “Boots” McGhee, a member of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club and co-founder of the surfing museum. “It’s not the Santa Cruz way.”