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The Yankees don’t want anyone copyrighting the term “Evil Empire”

Aug 17, 2011, 4:09 PM EDT

Image (1) yankee%20stadium.jpg for post 4012

Good reading over at Deadspin today, as Barry Petchesky tells the story of a couple of people who have printed up anti-Yankees merchandise with the phrase “Evil Empire” on it and who have attempted to register the copyright.  The Yankees, however, are none too pleased. Partially because it puts them in a bad light, but also because — oddly enough — they’re worried that people will be confused into thinking that the Yankees themselves are selling the Evil Empire stuff.

With the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry way less heated than it was six or seven years ago, this story almost seems quaint. But even if that part doesn’t jazz you, read it for the history of the phrase “Evil Empire,” which those of you who are old enough, will remember as a Ronald Reagan thing.

In other news: the Deadspin piece uses a picture of the Death Star from “Star Wars” with a Yankees logo on it, but doesn’t Yankee Stadium kind of look like the Death Star as it is?

  1. yankeesfanlen - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    “Incredible Universe” is none the less allowed.
    I just get home and have to deal with this S**T!

    • jimbo1949 - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:36 PM

      LEN!!!!!!!!! Welcome back. Hope you’re break was all you hoped it would be and more.

      That said, you need to get to work—the inmates are going all piesh!t about cake over on the WS/HOFer thread.

    • wlschneider09 - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      Hey, leave A-Rod alo…… oh wait, Len’s back.

      Welcome home, you can’t find this kind of witty banter on the beach now can you?

      • yankeesfanlen - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:08 PM

        Actually you can, ran into a former NYFD Chief at the motel. Maybe can bring him into our fold.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        He’s a caker, right, Len? I’d hate to think you were cavorting with a piebaby on your break, which was what, a year and a half?

      • yankeesfanlen - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        Now Ut, just cause I called my boss (me) and stretched two weeks into three doesn’t compromise my principles of defending the two pinnacles of the earth (not necessarily in order)
        The 27 time World Champion New York Yankees.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM

        Whew…that’s a relief. I am insecure, you know—at least that’s what I’ve been told time and again here on HBT

  2. joshftw - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Nah, the new Cowboys stadium looks much more like the death star than Yankees Stadium.

  3. donniebb23 - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I think it’s worth noting that “The Imperial March” is played in the stadium before every home game. Granted it’s played while the visitor’s lineup is being announced, but you have to think this is just a way to subtly embrace the whole Evil Empire name.

  4. kopy - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    “Evil Empire” will always be a Rage Against the Machine album to me. Too young to remember Reagan, too old to think the Yankees have always been great.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Sadly, I will remember Ronnie till long after I die—and, yeah, I meant that.

  5. funkygoorilla - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    When is it time to hand this nickname over to the RedSox or Phillies? They are doing exactly what the Yanks used to do, but nobody gives them any grief? Come on now!

    • kellyb9 - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      I’ll gladly call them the evil empire when their payroll eclipses all other teams by 30 million dollars.

      • funkygoorilla - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        Oh payroll blah blah! I think the RedSox snatching up players left and right should be just enough. Its the same thing, but the RedSox just paid less. Same with the Phillies.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM

        Right…payroll has nothing to do with it. Seriously? The Sox and the Phightins are nowhere near the payroll of the trailblazing Yankees.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

        Didn’t they get the title for swooping in and stealing Jose Contreras away when the Red Sox thought they had a deal in place? Kinda like Teixeira?

        The Red Sox then MADE SURE to get their man by doubling the next best offer for the rights on Dice-K.

        Nailed it!

      • sparky1002 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:20 AM

        It`s hard to begrudge a team the ability to buy the best talent because they sell more hotdogs and beer than other teams. Does that make the US also an “evil empire” if having money is the benchmark for the title?

      • kellyb9 - Aug 18, 2011 at 9:23 AM

        @sparky – According to some people “yes”. I’m not begrudging them spending their money the way they do or anything, but it’s a competitive game/sport that they’re playing. People are going to jump on the fact that they have a distinct advantage over every other team in the league. So they’re going to get called names.. who cares really.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      It took them a while, but the Phightins phinally learned from the best—or the first anyway. The Evil Empire set the standard for others to strive for or ignore.

    • indaburg - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      Ah, the “Evil Trinity”: the triumvirate of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies. Don’t worry, Funky Gorilla. I give all three teams grief for having nearly identical modus operandi.

  6. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    “…doesn’t Yankee Stadium kind of look like the Death Star as it is?”

  7. sdelmonte - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Shouldn’t the copyright belong to George Lucas? Or the estate of Ronald Reagan?

  8. danandcasey - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I am prepared to get a significant number of thumbs down, but as an intellectual property lawyer, I just can’t let it go – the issue is “trademarking” the phrase, not “copyrighting” the phrase.

    Trademark owners have a responsibility to police their marks. Unlike a patent or copyright, failure to police your mark will weaken it. The Yankees have probably the strongest mark in MLB and maybe even professional sports. Filing the opposition in this case was a no brainer.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      But wouldn’t they have to provide some evidence that it is being used in active commerce to retain the rights? In other words, they could trademark it, but to keep the exclusive rights, they would have to sell “Evil Empire’ products themselves, if I am not mistaken.

      Though the irony of the Yankees being forced to sell Evil Empire stuff would tickle me in and of itself, I do particularly love the idea of Boston fans spending their dollars to fill the Steinbrenners coffers, which will in turn be used to outbid Boston on the next great free agent (Felix? Hanley?) they are both after…

      • danandcasey - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM

        The Yankees would not have to sell goods or services using the Evil Empire mark to oppose it. The Yankees have two positions: First, the Evil Empire mark disparages the Yankees’ mark because of the negative association of the phrase with the Yankees. The second position is that the source of goods will be confusing. The Evil Empire mark is associated, in the public’s mind, with the Yankees. When the public sees goods with the mark, they will think it is the Yankees selling it. And, since the Yankees cannot control the quality of goods associated with the mark, the Yankees’ mark will suffer.

        An opposer can argue that they are using the mark and that they have the right to it – that is not what the Yankees are arguing here.

      • sparky1002 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:31 AM

        Can`t help but wonder how many “fannies” are placed in a baseball stadiums seats with hopes of watching the Yankees fail. No doubt the main reason the Yankees always draw more fans in stadiums they play than otherwise would be there from any other opposing team.

      • hungryjack1 - Aug 18, 2011 at 1:59 AM

        All those fannies in yankee jerseys and caps came just to watch them fail.

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