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Monday, February 10, 2014

Starbucks Is Dumb in Los Angeles

Posted by on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Whoah! This happened over the weekend. I can't believe this "art project" is legal. What's next? Dumb Walmart, Dumb Disney, and Dumb Coca-Cola?


Comments (18) RSS

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I don't even understand the point they're trying to make.
Posted by The CHZA on February 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
I am a huge fan of the parody exception, and so I am somewhat dismayed that their FAQ makes the whole thing sound like a money-grab on a technicality; I imagine we'll get some case law soon enough, most likely taking a bunch of other, more reasonable uses with it.
Posted by Overly Broad Interpretation on February 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM · Report this
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest it's most likely NOT legal - it's going to be very, very difficult for the purveyors of this to prove it falls under the "parody exception" to copywrite law. In addition, I would imagine use of the actual SB logo probably violates trademark, especially if they're actually charging $$ for services.
Posted by COMTE on February 10, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Gern Blanston 4
Dumb Slog? Oh wait....
Posted by Gern Blanston on February 10, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
theophrastus 5
@1 my sentiments exactly. is it any <mild perjorative>starbucks or is it starbucks somehow lacking a voice? a whole lotta money (and lawyers-to-come) for a why-bother message.

i even read one tin-foil-hat that it's a parody in order to prove the necessity to strengthen trademarks against parody. that's how all over the place the response is to this.
Posted by theophrastus on February 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Their FAQ states that they're just prefixing the brand name with Dumb in order to use it for free. No satire or other fair use riffs appear to be in the offing. This doesn't pass a fair use sniff test IMO.
Posted by Cad in Decadent on February 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
It isn't legal. It is maybe legal. Fair use, which the parody exception falls under, is more of a defense against copyright/TM violation. You cannot simply declare something to be fair use and know that it is legal. Given the way this has been executed, as well as the cafe's FAQ, I find it hard to believe that a fair use defense would be successful when (not if) Starbucks sues them for violating its IP rights.
Posted by ourkind on February 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
It's also about the laziest, "dumb"est & pointless possible parody one could do about Starbucks. You had all the money for a store and THAT'S what you came up with???
Posted by SoKirk on February 10, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
The parody protection from copyright is a genuinely important thing. Assuming this store is intended to remain open and to make money selling coffee, it amounts to an attempt to destroy the protection genuine parodies enjoy from copyright restrictions. My current assumption is that the proprietors are assholes.
Posted by Warren Terra on February 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM · Report this
@3 - everything was free. they were not making money, only a point. whatever the point is. probably that US Trademark law is silly or something.
Posted by the eyeroller on February 10, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
I.C. Deadpeople 11
Dumb Parody
Posted by I.C. Deadpeople on February 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 12
This is trademark infringement on an absolutely massive scale. It's not parody, there's no parody exception (that's for copyright law), and it most definitely isn't legal. What's more, the potential civil fines are substantial. Starbucks will sue, and they will bankrupt everyone who had anything to do with this idiotic idea.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on February 10, 2014 at 2:22 PM · Report this
@12, yup. Parody is not an affirmative defense to trademark infringement. It can operate as an argument why there is no likelihood of confusion. And DS could say it's nominative fair use. But even then, they can only use so much of the mark as is necessary to identify the target of the parody. In any event, their FAQs (along with many people online) conflate trademark law with copyright law--two separate bodies of law with two separate fair use doctrines.
Posted by California on February 10, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 14
It's near Los Angeles. It's a Hollywood stunt. Starbucks almost surely knows and has a part to play.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on February 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Banksy. Banksy. Banksy. Is what I first thought when I heard about it... just wait, those DUMB cups will be on ebay selling for $100 a pop. (oh, no need to wait - )
Posted by caroline67 on February 10, 2014 at 4:16 PM · Report this
seandr 16
They called Starbucks "dumb"? Clever.

This is more a parody of a parody. No idea what the implications of that are for trademark law.
Posted by seandr on February 10, 2014 at 4:21 PM · Report this
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 10, 2014 at 9:22 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 18
Well, towards this being a "viral" stunt. Errybody got played.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 10, 2014 at 10:32 PM · Report this

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