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How Do You Say Award in Italian?

Okay, so we all know how Paul Kantner sued Jefferson Starship and partially won, and how Roger Waters sued Pink Floyd and pretty much lost (though he seems to be getting the last laugh), but what about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences suing an Italian broadcaster over the use of the word "Oscar" as associated with awards broadcasts?...

Well, it's true. The Academy protects the term "Oscar" like the Walt Disney Company protects Mickey Mouse, and to that end recently filed against RAI International for their use of "Oscar" in promoting and broadcasting a series of awards shows. Likely they would never have noticed, but thanks to satellite content provider EchoStar Communications, the series of "Italian Oscar" programs--in industrial categories such as Wine, Fashion, and Music--was broadcast (in Italian) in the United States.

Presumably, the Academy feared some voters would be misled and vote for these programs rather than the proper entries in the "Foreign Language" category--indeed, this may be why "Pan's Labyrinth" lost to "The Lives of Others." Just a guess.

Perhaps fearing Umberto Eco would be called to the stand to explain Semiotics, US District Court Judge Audrey Collins decreed that while the term 'Oscar' deserves a certain amount of intellectual property protection within the boundaries of the English language, such protection doesn't necessarily apply to Italian and other languages, where the term 'Oscar' might not carry any specific connotations, and may in fact constitute a generic term.

So, a victory for now. But next thing you know, I won't be able to name my first born son "Skywalker Jones" like I've always planned...

Source: Reuters.

Posted by on March 16, 2007 11:39 PM
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