We saw what happened when WWE had a taste of promotional competition in the form of the ECW ppv: the Raw ppv that followed it was incredible and wrestlers on the show busted their asses. This happened despite the fact that the ECW ppv was being promoted BY WWE. Now that TNA and UFC are gaining steam, Vince is seeing to it that he sues everyone who could potentially provide future competition.
Bullying smaller groups who can't afford the drawn out legal battles that the WWE can wage, and preventing guys like the Dudley's from using their name are really pathetic moves. Claiming that "Dudley Boys" is part of the WWE intellectual property is pretty absurd, and those guys were loyal to Vince for a long time while he was raking in money. Hardcore Homecoming had to cancel its upcoming show because of legal threats. Extending Raw and adding an additional clip show to compete with TNA and UFC once it's on Spike is another result of WWE's fear and desperation. Yes, WWE has a responsibility to stockholders to protect their property, but isn't all this going too far?
Yes, you're right. Vince should just stand back and let others use his trademarks in order to compete with him. And Microsoft should use open source, and McDonald's should let me market my sandwich as a "Big Mac" because I'm big and someone once called me Mac.
WWE is doing this so when a big case happens of trademark infringement, they can say they were consistent in asking those using their property to stop. If they just let this stuff go and a big lawsuit came up, the lawyers of the other party could just say, "Well, you never asked THEM to stop using the name."
"Trademark infringement" is why you now call it WWE instead of WWF.
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The point is that he does have it, though...and when you have this stuff in your posession as a public business entity, your trademarks are the only thing you have and defending them sends a message to anyone who would be looking to take them. That's why Marvel got so pissy over the whole "Hulk/Hulk Hogan" thing.
Just because the WWE is a large corporate monolith and just because Vince McMahon may or may not have engaged in questionable business practices doesn't mean they're not within their legal rights to protect the rights of things they've purchased and are theirs. If they don't do so, those trademarks aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and that's how they're viewing it.
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Well some of these wrestlers, like the Dudleyz, probably should've been more protective of their gimmicks and characters.
But it is kind of crap that they are doing it to guys like Justin Credible and Billy Kidman. Credible especially since he was fired years ago but still used the name since then in ROH and TNA, and they are just doing something about it now. To those guys I think its really unfair, and I don't see how WWE would lose money from it.
Originally posted by redsoxnationVince has the hammer, and he's using it. Now, could Vince be sued for use of the term Legion of Doom, as Animal states on the DVD that that term was directly stolen from SuperFriends?
Heh, I didn't know that. You gotta wonder, Alex Ross is using the LOD in his current Justice comic and the Justice League Unlimited cartoon is going to feature a version of them in the upcoming season.
I've seen first-hand these types of things in other lines of the entertainment business, including situations where the people involved were close friends with each other. As one person I know said to a guy he called his lawyers out on, "Look, you're a good friend, but I can't ignore you now and then go into court against someone else after you and say, 'Sorry, judge, I didn't do anything about that other guy who infringed on my trademark because he's a good friend.' No court would accept that."
I think it really comes down to three things:
A) Does it stink that WWE is doing this to these guys? Yep, that's a shame.
B) Does WWE have a right to do this in order to do what is right by their investors? Yep, that's business.
C) Should the wrestlers have thought about that when they signed over those rights? Yep, they probably nearly all did. BUT, they felt it was worth the risk involved. If they didn't, that's their fault for not thinking it through.
Originally posted by The Vile1But I still don't really see how WWE doing this does right by their investors. And why are they doing it to Justin Credible now? A guy they fired years ago.
First you have to look at the wrestlers as products that WWE is marketing to the public. That may seem barbaric in some ways, but in a business-sense you have to see the end-product for the investors like that. Therefore, WWE's investors made an investment in those products in hopes that they will sell well enough to pay off dividends.
Now, say that someone came along with the same product by the same name and made money off of it. Would WWE's investors be happy to see their investment be thrown away like that? Shouldn't the company they invested their money in try to do something about that?
As for Credible, that goes back to my earlier statement about, "if we do it to some of these guys, then we'll have to do it to all of them." Justin may have an out in that they allowed him to do so for so long without interference, and thus may be able to show that WWE never expected to lose anything on him promoting himself like that until they felt they had to go after EVERYONE.
Then again, that's nearly saying, "I suck so much that WWE didn't care until they had to go after everyone else." Probably not the best way to win back your name.
Before *everyone* jumps on the wagon that wrestlers who don't own all their rights are morons, remember that Vince has a monopoly on the business right now. It's very easy for him to put in everyone's contract that they sign over all their name rights so that the WWE can put their merchandising machine behind it. If you don't want to sign over your rights, then you can spend the rest of your life wrestling in the indys trying to scrape by.
Sting owns his rights, but then again he never signed with the WWE. Bret Hart's said that him getting his trademark was something that he had to fight for to the point of almost not re-signing (it was around the 92 Royal Rumble contract trouble he had, so who knows how big a deal it was in that situation). The WWE is more about merchandising that wrestling now, so I can easily see them passing on people who won't give on the matter.
These guys aren't put in the best of situtations when it comes to these things.
Eh, I can kinda see both sides of it, to be honest. On the one hand I understand the wrestlers are in a bad position, particularly because WWE's been the only significant game in town for a little while now. It sucks that a character created by Paul Heyman in ECW, and portrayed for years by Mark Lamonica, is now in the hands of WWE and they're never gonna let it go. If Paul Heyman showed the level of administrative detail that he should have, maybe ECW would still be in business-- or at least these wrestlers would be able to use the characters that brought them success, in any event.
On the other hand, a company must aggressively protect its trademarks, otherwise its trademarks aren't any good. If I created an organization called World Wrestling Entertainment, I'd expect to be sued by WWE at any minute. If they didn't sue me, I could contend that by not aggressively protecting their trademark, it has lost its validity. Maybe that's a simplistic way of putting it, but I can certainly see things from WWE's point of view. And yeah, it has the effect of screwing guys who've been loyal employees for a number of years. But when you consider the possibility that part of the reason they're doing this is because they're starting to see TNA as legitimate competition to them, you start to see that it makes a little more sense.
So, yeah... sucks for the wrestlers, but I honestly can't blame WWE for doing what they're doing.
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Tribal Prophet: Before *everyone* jumps on the wagon that wrestlers who don't own all their rights are morons, remember that Vince has a monopoly on the business right now.
No, he doesn't
Eddie Famous: "Trademark infringement" is why you now call it WWE instead of WWF.
Bingo. And if WWE doesn't step up to the plate now re: their legal property (especially in the case of the Dudleyz), 24/7 and pending DVD releases are going to be nothing but edits and blurs
It's great to root for the underdog, but not when the underdog ain't bright enough to protect his / her interests. If Shane Douglas didn't have his head up his ass, he would make a deal similar to that of Davis / Cornette in OVW. Run the shows under the umbrella of WWE...or, in this case, lease the rights. My head hurts just thinking about that - the wrestling business and a majority of the people in it are too anal-retentive and paranoid to think outside the box
Demonstrations are a drag. Besides, we're much too high
I would see how the WWE would sue if you created a company called World Wrestling Entertainment, just as I could see them sue if you created a company called Walter's Wiener Eatery. I could see them also try to protect their biggest trademarks and such...but I don't really see how forcing someone like Justin Credible, or whomever else will do anything for business.
If these were bigger names jumping to more prominent competition, I could see that being the case, but seriously...what is this going to solve?
Originally posted by Blanket Jackson The point is that he does have it, though...and when you have this stuff in your posession as a public business entity, your trademarks are the only thing you have and defending them sends a message to anyone who would be looking to take them.
Oh, I agree, and if Vince can afford to buy ECW (and the Dudleys don't want to spend the money trying to challenge his claim), Vince is legally in the clear here. There's nothing wrong with purchasing the rights to something you didn't create.
What I find odd is the notion that poor defenseless Vince has to use whatever means he can to protect the Dudleys gimmick because he toiled for so many years crafting that idea. Vince has a financial stake in the Dudleys gimmick because he owns it, but people are acting like he has a creative stake in it that Bubba and D-Von would be violating if they used it. Michael Jackson gets a check every time they make a commercial with "Hey Jude" in it, but if Paul McCartney sings at the Super Bowl he's not covering a Michael Jackson single.
Originally posted by RYDER FAKINAnd if WWE doesn't step up to the plate now re: their legal property (especially in the case of the Dudleyz), 24/7 and pending DVD releases are going to be nothing but edits and blurs
Not necessarily. If they had let the Dudleys have the rights to the name, they could asked them "Hey, we're re-releasing Wrestlemania X-Seven, can we pay a fee to mention your names on it?" and D-Von would be all "Oh testify" and everyone would be happy.
They could have done the same thing with Jesse Ventura's commentary and the entrance themes they don't have the rights to. (The only thing they probably can't pay to show is the WWF logo, and that's only because they burned their bridges with the pandas.) They choose not to because they don't think it's worth the money. It probably wouldn't be worth it if every WWE charged a licensing fee for the use of his likeness, so I can see why WWE wants to nip this sort of thing in the bud. But it's not as if the Dudleys would lock up the rights and never license them, in the sense that the Sax Rohmer estate refuses to let Marvel reprint Master of Kung Fu.