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Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:39 PM

Uh-oh! One of my paintings has gotten me into legal trouble.

I have a painting on Etsy called "Got Milkweed?" I just got an email from an attorney who represents the California Dairy Council telling me I have to change the name or face legal action. So my options are 1. I could change the name. 2. Ignore it and wait to see what happens. If it went to court, it could be some good PR. However it could also cost me a bundle.

What would you do?

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:40 PM

1. I'd milk it as long as you can.

🥛

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Response to underpants (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:49 PM

4. Winner!

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:41 PM

2. Change the name. It wouldn't be worth the hassle and expense

to fight with people who have more lawyers and money than you.

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:49 PM

5. Agreed, I recall a letter that said, "We have more lawyers than your town has people." n/t

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:08 PM

13. Trust me. They will win. You will suffer. Change the name.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:45 PM

3. depends on if you have a lawyer in the family.

honestly, tho, even if they are a big entity, that phrase is someone's intellectual property.
change it.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:51 PM

6. Weird, sometimes they have had fun with the ripoffs

https://www.adweek.com/creativity/top-100-spoofs-got-milk-20532/

You’d think you’re free publicity for THEM.

But corporations are scary.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:51 PM

7. WTF ?

So if I took a picture of 2 school kids exchanging pennies, and called it
Got Milkmoney? I could be sued?

That’s nuts

✌🏻

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:54 PM

8. If I were in your shoes, I would change it.

Avoid the hassle and expense of fighting it.

(My two cents' worth of advice.)


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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:59 PM

9. Well the lawsuit might get you some pub

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Response to Fullduplexxx (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:04 PM

12. Change it to "nondairy milkweed, the healthy choice"

Then ask if this is OK.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:01 PM

10. Are they going after the got milkweed t-shirt?

They’re being really stupid, but lawyers gotta eat.

Not worth the aggravation. Take out the “got.”

Reminds me of the joke that went around about 20+ years ago that bill gates was going to copyright the letter e and you could use it without paying him. Or something like that.



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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:04 PM

11. Make another painting called "got milkshakedown"

Armchair lawyer here, but this seems to me like a blatant shakedown and a baseless legal claim.

First, it's clearly fair use.

Second, you're not trying to sell milk.

Third, a quick google shows a ton of merch with the phrase "got milkweed", so I'm not sure it isn't already in the public domain.

Trademarking a phrase generally doesn't prevent people in other industries from using it.


That said, it's no fun fighting a legal battle even if you're 100% in the right. It's usually better to avoid a fight if it doesn't really cost you much to do so.

Personally, I'd change the title slightly, then make another painting slamming them for the shakedown. The email is yours to use however you want.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:29 PM

14. Change it to

"Dickweed Lawyer With the California Dairy Council Threatened Me With a Lawsuit. Fuck You California Dairy Council".

Kind of a long name, but I like it.

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Response to rownesheck (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:52 PM

15. Or: "I planned to call this Got Milkweed but the California Dairy Association threatened to

sue me." Also long but a good title none the less.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 08:27 PM

16. Talk to a lawyer. It boils down to how much money do you want to spend vs how much they will ...

... copyright laws say a holder has to defend their name.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 08:50 PM

17. I was thinking of changing it to: "God. Milkweed!"

Or "G*t Milkweed?"

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Response to bif (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 11:03 PM

18. Have no idea about paintings. Am not an attorney. But song titles are

often the exactly the same, yet that is usually acceptable. Whatever, good luck. The prudent thing would probably be changing the name, but . . . . . .

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Response to bif (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 01:10 PM

19. My experience is

that the artist always loses. I had some work that was stolen and used again, supposedly with my permission. There was nothing I could do about it, which is probably what a lawyer would tell you anyway.

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