More Like the “Stupidmark Stupidlution Act…”

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If you’ve heard the stirrings about the bill HR 683, “The Trademark Dilution Revision Act” floating around, then right now you’re undoubtably preparing yourself for the day when we UnBeige writers are forced to draw our own little side images to accompany these write-ups. They will, of course, be very, very bad drawings. Mostly 3D boxes and circles, we imagine. This is because, if HR 683 passes, corporations will have much more leverage in fighting people using logos or things pertaining to brands for demonstration purposes. This probably wouldn’t affect your typical working designer, as you’re probably not being asked to stick Coke’s logo all over someone’s annual report, but it does raise all kinds of questions about teaching, satire and protest, blogs and essays about advertising and branding, etc. Here’s a short run down from this site with the whole scoop:

The Act would give companies considerable leverage in preventing artists and photographers from employing their marks in images by claiming the mark is being “diluted”. The bigger the company, the more famous the trademark, the easier it will be to prevent you guys from using it. National companies with highly recognizable marks would have more leverage than any single creator or small business and would easily outspend any of you to prevent your using their mark.

Exceptions for fair use, non-commercial use, reportage, commentary, etc. currently existing could disappear and would be no defense to claims of infringement of a registered or unregistered mark. Trade dress is often unregistered.