No You May Not Fly Your Phanatic Flugtag


Photo via The Fightins and

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, 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, 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.



12 Responses

  1. This is actually the team of my friends best friend. First off, I’d like to say that the MLB is retarded (politically incorrect? fuck offff 🙂 Second, each team had to submit a plan/drawing to RedBull so they could approve it. Sure, it may not be RedBull’s job to get it approved by the MLB or whatever – but they could have mentioned to the team that they may want to check it out before wasting their time building it. I mean, RedBull should know this, I believe a team a few years ago did a character from Sesame Street. So I would think that that team may have had to get that approved from Sesame Street somehow…..or maybe Sesame Street wasnt gay and didnt mind some free, harmless advertising. They should change the “P” on the Phanatics hat to an “FU” and fly the thing anyways.

  2. When will the MLB bosses get it through their numbskulls that this is not 1950, the internet is not television, and they’re losing buckets of dollars fighting so hard over a handful of cents? Do these guys have some kind of deal with MPAA and RIAA, too?

  3. Look I’m not taking MLB’s side but you have to realize you cannot use trademarked things in high profile events. I think the idea of having Philadelphia’s number one fan fly in the Flutaug is awesome but the rules are the rules. If one of these people came up with an idea or a trademarked character they would not want they’re creation exploited everywhere somebody felt like it. I know these folks put a lot of hard work into they’re creation but they should have checked before putting all that time and money into it. Especially in a event as big as the Red Bull Flutaug. In so many ways and words… Your fault.

  4. So that last dude’s post was basically:
    “Look I’m not taking MLB’s side but” {and then a bunch of ways how you’re taking MLB’s side].
    Selig’s an idiot. He may not have handled this particular issue directly, but he’s put the current system in place and engendered an environment where this kind of stupid nitpick-y bullshit happens. Baseball will never thrive as long as he’s at the helm, unless oh wait, maybe he can start letting the players juice again so they can have another home run race and drum up some ratings. And then you want to alienate some of the loyal fans you still have? Keep in mind this isn’t some knucklehead selling bootleg t-shirts out on Pattison, this is a prestige event and free non-negative publicity!
    Words cannot begin to encapsulate how much I loathe that guy and his lackeys.

  5. Like I said I’m not taking MLB’s side Sean but no pro sports league would let this happen. See if Goodell,Stern or Gary Bettman would let any of they’re TM’s do something this. All I’m saying is no pro sports league would let this happen I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s just the way it is. If you think this is tough try dealing with Disney. The law is the law and in this day and age people just don’t wanna live by it or if they don’t like it they think it doesn’t apply to them. It’s not like MLB is saying one team can do it but not the other team. So get over it they’re is more pressing news out there going on. This is the reason why when you see athletes like Ryan Howard doing Subway commercials or posters or Chase Utley doing EAS ads they’re never wearing they’re Phillies uniforms.Just something in the similar color with no lettering on it.

  6. The NHL didn’t have a problem with the Flyers Zamboni crashing into the Smellaware River! And the Ill basebale cap, was that not a copyrighted symbol of MLB.

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