This post comes courtesy of the Major League Baseball anti-fun department.
MLB lawyers clearly have nothing better to do, other than to ruin fun and pass up an opportunity for free publicity. According to Philly.com, the Phlyin’ Phanatics will not be allowed to use their Phillie Phanatic flugtag in tomorrow’s Red Bull event on the Delaware River. MLB cites copyright infringement in its cease and desist order to the team.
The flutag features the head of the Phanatic and a Phillies hat (which is likely the real culprit here). The Phantics will have to fly the craft without a head- just like Petey.
This is another misguided attempt by Major League Baseball to impart their draconian ways on good PR. Really, what’s the harm here? This is the same company the stalks YouTube for game footage and immediately puts in copyright claims on any videos containing it. They admittedly do a great job with their own video content and MLB.tv, but instead of doing what most media outlets do nowadays, and let users embed ad laden videos on their sites, MLB forces you back to their own page. This is why you see so many .gifs and videos of TV screens on blogs and other sites. That alone shows MLB’s lack of forsight, while the flutag incident is just another example of lawyers getting in the way of common sense.
I worked for the MLB Shop last spring when Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart died. MLB immediately had his name removed from the list of available player jerseys. And rightfully so- they didn’t want to make it seem like they were trying to profit off another’s loss. Shortly thereafter, many, many customers took to the customization option on site to get their jerseys in honor of the fallen phenom. Within hours, MLB disallowed that practice as well.
You see, there are two ways to get names on a jersey. One is to select a name from a list of current players. This is to ensure the Players Association gets their cut of a jersey sale when an actual player’s name is used. The other option is to enter your own custom name on a jersey. There is a long and rather hilarious list of lewd words and phrases that are banned, along with the names and nicknames of current MLBPA members- so the MLBPA can get their cut from option 1. “Big Papi” and “RAUUUUUL” are perfect examples of this. MLB copyrighted their use and gives the Player Association a cut from those sales.
Adenhart was placed on that block list along with the words “cocksucker”, “aroid”, and “dirty sanchez.” MLB cited the fact that he was still, while dead, a current member of the MLBPA as a reason for his inclusion on the list. The inability to purchase his jersey caused outrage among fans who wanted to get a shirt to honor Adenhart- prompting this article from Deadspin. I actually helped write the letter to customers about why their order could not be fulfilled.
I also presented MLB with a simple solution: sell his jersey so fans can honor him, and donate the net profits to his family or charity. It would be a win for all involved.
That suggestion was met with a simple “no.”
So yeah, this flugtag thing comes at no surprise from a very inside-the-box thinking company.
Or, as reader Dave points out, they could always call it the Philly Frenetic.