Thursday, June 04, 2009

Cease and Desist

I received a letter from the Intellectual Property Counsel from Campbell's Soup. In a nut shell they are asking me to change my blog header so the casual reader is not misled into thinking that Campbell's is associated or endorses my blog. They also want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding from the casual reader that there is an actual flavor of Campbell's Soup called Poop and Boogies.

At first I was a little worried because I am not sure where the law stands on parody and trademark. Then I was all "Big company trying to squash the little guy and his little blog too. This is an outrage!" But then I realized I was actually happy that Campbell's has discovered my blog and that they expressed concern with the header. I just hope that the people there are reading and enjoying my posts.

Actually, the Intellectual Property Counsel at Campbell's' have been very nice and I understand their concerns. They even suggested a few simple changes to keep the header somewhat intact but not so close to their trade dress.

So, where does that leave me? Well, it is time for a change. I am just not sure what kind of change. Do I do a complete overhaul? Do I just change the header? I don't even know how to do this stuff. This is where I need help.

I want to stay with the food motif but I am not sure what kind of food label. Any suggestions? Does anyone who reads Poop and Boogies work for a food company that will actually endorse my blog? Will they pay me? I already tried Frank's Hot sauce, which is my favorite, but they declined (they sent me coupons though).

Does anyone know anyone that can help with an overhaul? How much does something like that cost? I want to stay with Blogger because the idiot curve leans in my favor but I don't know the first thing about html or design or interfaces and flux-capacitors.

How do you suggest I change the site? What would you like to see? Please help.

46 comments:

kalki said...

I don't use Blogger so I'm not completely sure how easy it would be, but you could download a free Blogger template (google search will help you find them). That won't allow for much customization, as far as a food theme, but it would be a quick way to redesign. I think. Again, I don't use Blogger, so not an expert...

Anonymous said...

Skip looked good in that logo.

Anonymous said...

I think you should use an ampersand. Knock off the Bartles and James Logo. Wine Coolers went out 20 years ago. They don't have a "cease and desist" department.

Anonymous said...

If you use the Miller Lite Logo, the Lawnwhisperer will return.

Anonymous said...

Use the Black and Decker Logo. Maybe your male readership count will make it into double digits.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Not sure if they actually have the right to have you cease and desist, but they could make it expensive to argue.

Good Luck. I am waiting for my letter from George Lucas' attorney's

SciFi Dad said...

I don't know what logo to suggest, but when you choose one, fire me off an email and I can help with the graphics and/or html side of things.

Bridget said...

Do you need legal counsel? You have earned free advice for life?

Bev Sykes said...

That's really crazy. Would it satisfy them if you took out the word "condensed"? How ANYBODY could think you had ANYTHING to do with Campbells from that logo is simply crazy.

Shannon said...

I think that with all of the money you spend on Cheetos and Doritos, not to mention all the plugs you've put in for them, Frito-Lay should let you use one of their logos. Maybe your header could feature a combo bag of Poop & Boogies Doritos? Two flavors in one bag!

Amy Genn said...

Blogger is EASY to create layouts and headers for.
Since you use a white background, all you need is a new header.
Quick and Easy...just need some version of Photoshop....design the header, save it as a .jpeg file, then upload it to your blog.
www.cutestblogontheblock.blogspot.com
has lots of tutorials to help you create your own layouts.
:)

Susie said...

It's not a real soup? Oh, dear. I fear I may have instigated this. I kept writing nasty letters to Campbell's, complaining that condensed p&b soup is not available in my area.

I got nothin' helpful, what with being a techno-dunce and all. Sorry.

Jeremy and Becky said...

I would be happy to help you do the overhaul. I could even send you a word doc with what to paste where. Let me know! How about Lunchables... the quick meal... LOL! I would have demanded free soup for the cost (time wise) of changing the blog. Nothing like a good grilled cheese with Poop and Boogies soup! AWESOME! Maybe I should write demanding that flavor... LOL!

Annalisa said...

I'm with Shannon. Doritos for sure. We could all petition the Frito-Lay company?! You could make your own flavor (P & B) of Doritos... Hell. I'd buy them!

Melinda said...

I am just an boring old fart, I vote for no change. I like it just like it is.

Chixulub said...

You might shoot Max Barry an email. He's an old hand with fending off overzealous corporate lawyers. Because seriously, nobody ever thought for a split-second that your blog had the endorsement of Campbell's or was actually an ad for an excrement & mucous soup.

From what I can see, you are clearly in fair-use territory. And it'd be amusing to see them try and explain to a judge the actual damages to their brand caused by your blog.

The rub to getting outright permission to use someone's trademark is you probably don't generate enough traffic to be worth the trouble in the eyes of management, who would tend to worry that some post of yours would eventually come back to cost them more than the promotional value of your header.

Claire said...

While you are overhauling your site, don't forget to update your profile and nutrition facts. You are missing a child.

Anonymous said...

Ignore it!!! Eventually they will take it to the courts you will get media coverage on CNN and MSNBC as the man that took on Campbells and who knows possible how many endorsements you will recieve. Remember all publicity { although very humbling} is good!!! Good Luck and when are we getting a guest writer to fill as a filler for your off days?

Anonymous said...

Change is good! %$#& the Campbell Soup company. With all the soup we bought over the years, they should be glad, and gracious to have someone use their logo. It's all in fun! Where is their sense of humor? They have nothing to do in their company but write to you about your blog!!! Come on now! It's Lipton for me from now on. After all, those little green things in their soup look more like boogies to me than anything in a Campbell's soup. Progresso is another favorite! $%#& Campbells.

eclectic said...

Cease and Desist? Bwahahahahaha!

Yeah, the chances of your blog confusing the average Campbell's consumer... (which, BTW is the legal standard for trademark infringement)... um, well I'm not licensed in Pennsylvania so I can't give legal advice, but my personal opinion (NOT TO BE CONSTRUED IN ANY WAY AS A LEGAL OPINION) is to call shenanigans on the good folks at Campbells.

But, then again, I'm a technological cretin with no idea how to customize a blog template, so it may be just sheer laziness on my part.

Anonymous said...

Retro.............NO FRILLS black letters on white with red and blue stripes.

sari said...

Let's all boycott Campbell's Soup! ha ha ha I can't believe they're actually bothering you with this.


No, really. I agree with Shannon - why not Doritos?

Morrisquads said...

I say you head on over to the Campbell's Soup HQ and wipe some poop and boogies on their door. Then sue THEM for trademark infringement.

Hey - if nothing else it'd be fun.

creative breathing said...

Dear William: An open letter of support on my blog. P&B under any banner is my first read of the day!E

Sue said...

I think your design should include a kegerator. Nothing goes with Poop and Boogies like ice cold beer.

Cal said...

Shame about having to change the header. You must have accidentally preempted their next new flavour. Be honoured though - they found you -wow. You're not alone. A lady living in the isle of Skye in the north of Scotland had to rename her shop. It was named after her family name for generations, which goes back as far as the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 between the Campbells and the McDonalds! And the name of her shop? McDonalds Sandwich Shop but the Big Boys moved in and insisted on change. Good luck with your new name and banner.

Michelle said...

I will buy only Progresso from here on out. Screw Campbells. Make no change until a judge rules that you have to. And what, with all those siblings (and their spouses) there aren't any attorneys??

Nancy said...

would it be crazy to just change the colour? or have a graphic designer do a pic of a dinner table with everyone "digging in"

Michelle said...

Happy Birthday, Poop!

kcinnova said...

Campbell's is worried that their average consumer could be fooled into thinking they have a soup called Poop & Boogies?
I guess Campbell's doesn't think much of their average consumer.

I vote keep the logo!
But update your nutrition facts before Jackson gets a complex... or a lawyer.

Patti said...

The reasonably intelligent adult knows that you are not the Campbell Soup Company nor are you attempting to be. However, as much as I hate to say it, I have to admit that I'm surprised it took them this long to send the letter. I'm an IP Legal Assistant for one of the most well known chemical companies in the world ... think better living through chemistry... I can say that because they decided to let the trademark on the expression lapse. Anyway, sad to say, they are "protecting" themselves against the idiots out there who will come to your site and think it's endorsed by their soup company and then do something stupid and say it was all Campbell's fault! God I hate stupid people ... but it takes all kinds to make the world go round. I'm just sorry you're the one paying the price.

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday!

don't change it and claim senility!

sari said...

Happy birthday!

Dorion said...

Congratulations - Legal action is the purest form of flattery.

Hey, your about my age (a little younger I think.) When I was a kid there were stickers we bought that had wacky food products that spoofed real products. After a little Google I found them. .they even had Campbells. . maybe it'll give you an Idea. .check it out.

http://www.wackypackages.org/realproductsscans/campbells.html

http://www.wackypackages.org/index.php

Jo's Outlet said...

Go with the competition -- Lipton or Progresso or generic Wal-Mart branch (Great Value?). Then Campbell's might want you to take them back. You have to be good exposure for them, even though condensed poop and boogers sounds really disgusting as a soup.

Jo's Outlet said...

*branch was supposed to be "brand", by the way.

cathy said...

I vote for heading your blog in a LITERAL sense. That ought to be interesing...

Effie said...

talk to Circus Kelli--she's awesome at stuff like that!!

Anonymous said...

Nancy's comment of "do a pic of a dinner table with everyone digging in" gave me the idea of taking DaVinci's "The Last Supper" painting and adding a few digital additions to it??? Surely the copyright's expired since he's been dead and gone for quite some time...

Anonymous said...

Ah yes! As I suspected (that's my comment ^above^), according to the great and powerful wikipedia, "The Last Supper" image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

SusieO said...

What about Nickelodeon...they have gross candies that look like boogies and puke and such. Perhaps they would be interested.

And I can't believe I just wrote that in a sentence.

PS Why don't you tweet more?

Geeks in Rome said...

I would hate to see this header go. It is so creative! poo on Campbells for not seeing it as clever product placement.

But then again, do your readers really fall in the Cream of Mushroom buyers' demographics?

I know I would buy it if they sold it here, but Italy is too snobby for Tuna Noodle Wiggle with peas and a can of campbells' cream of whatever-was-on-sale.

Gretchen said...

Good for you, Billy! Nothing better than a cease and desist letter -- I've gotten three in my career -- the Academy Awards (apparently they own that Oscar word), Take Your Dog to Work association (I launched Take Your Fish to Work -- it was successful), and Dunkin Donuts, they told me they own the colors pink and orange. I was suprised by that last one, as I've been wearing pink and orange for quite a long time and never got their permission. If you need help I can take this on at the agency for some props for one of my clients...? email me if you want us to play.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! Did they go after Andy Wharhol when he did his exct copies of Campbells Cans. Bet not. Your use was obviously meant as a parody and as such should be protected by public domain: Especially since the campbell's soup can is such an culturalIcon. Now if you called it Campbell's Condensed Poop & Boogies they might have had you. I can't believe that they would even bother. Both Kleenex and Xerox have fallen into the public domain because they represent the essence of the product they manufacture. I thought it was rather clever myself and am sorry you changed it
Uncle Fred

JP said...

Change it to Progresso. That'll teach Campbells...

Cole said...

I liked the parody of their logo that you went with, and would totally take it as a compliment that your blog has gained so much attention. The cease and desist is totally a badge of honor, and honestly . . . nobody reads the blog for the header. It's your clever writing that brings people back and finds you new readers every day. So, congratulations on the the cease and desist, Bill. Take advantage of the refurb and show us something fun and creative.