Like most consumers, I associate the phrase “thank you” with Citigroup THANKYOU Marks, which the financial-services giant uses in its customer rewards programs. When I hold the door open for a little girl and she says “thank you,” I suffer a moment of confusion. How has this child become employed by Citigroup, and why has my act of courtesy earned me THANKYOU Mark rewards? But then I remember that, oh yeah, trademark violations have diluted the THANKYOU Mark brand to the point where people started using it in non-rewards point contexts. It’s the kind of infringement on intellectual property that has become too common in the modern world. Fortunately, Citigroup has fought back against such lawlessness by filing suit against AT&T for using “thanks” and “AT&T thanks” in its own marketing materials.
It’s all our faults collectively, but Transformers made Shia LaBeouf an aristocrat. We had to see live actors be friends with computer-rendered characters from a cartoon about a toy, so now LaBeouf gets an income forever. Like many members of the leisure class, he has turned to art, producing a short film obviously plagiarized from a Daniel Clowes comic. Like many m.’s of the l.c. who get in trouble, he subsequently turned to philosophy, arguing that authorship is censorship and intellectual property is theft in a series of weird interviews that were, themselves, kind of plagiarized. He also hired a skywriter to blanket LA with a sarcastic apology to Clowes, who lives in San Francisco.
Although the Federal Copyright Office ruled in June that a series of poses cannot be copyrighted, Yoga to the People has agreed to stop offering the Bikram series in order to settle a lawsuit from Bikram Choudhury. The name is not a coincidence. Choudhury, known as “Bikram” in hushed tones with whale sounds in the background, invented the Bikram series of 26 poses performed in a room heated to 105 degrees. “Invented” is maybe the wrong word. The poses themselves are thousands of years old, but Bikram assembled them into a series that, done right, is an amazingly therapeutic workout. I would like to thank him for my increased shoulder mobility and steadily improving abs. Really, though, I should thank Jennifer Hoover and Hot House Missoula, since they’re the ones who actually put me through the paces.
Wikipedia, the massive online library of free papers for freshman rhetoric, will go dark on Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The act, currently pending in the House of Representatives, would allow the justice department to shut down websites accused of posting copyrighted content and/or block access to those sites via US internet providers. That doesn’t seem so bad, until you consider that much of the content on many of the most popular websites is user-generated—which is to say movie- and TV-generated and, you know, stolen. Sony Pictures could get the Justice Department to shut down YouTube, if it wanted, because people posted videos of Spider Man. And that’s to say nothing of copyrighted Facebook avatars, copyrighted samples, copyrighted Evanescence lyrics on strippers’ blogs, and copyrighted information.