Cher and copyrights

This has nothing to do with statistics, but it’s too good to not post.
My friend posted a bunch of prints on, and attempted to caption one of them “Quabbin Reservoir, Belchertown, Massachusetts”, but it was red flagged for copyright infringement. So they wrote them to see what the claimed copyright was, and this was the response:
Hi *****,
We truly do appreciate your comments and questions.
Unfortunately, in an effort to respect the rights of intellectual property owners, we are not able to support the inclusion of certain words, names, phrases, or combination thereof in artist submissions. In this particular case the term “Cher” was used in “BelCHERtown” and we are not able to support the inclusion. Please replace this word to your description accordingly. All words in your listing must be accurate and refer only to the item for sale.
We understand that this particular exclusion may be overbroad as applied to your submission, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to improve our policy and process for the benefit of the overall marketplace.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
So obviously she couldn’t just let that go, because it’s too ridiculous. So she replied:
Hi *********,
Thank you for your reply. This is, of course, not a huge inconvenience, and I understand and empathize with the company’s preference for avoiding the creation of liabilities. I also acknowledge that there is a slippery slope argument to be made here — if you allow BelCHERtown, what’s to stop the next interloper from using words like “teaCHER,” “CHERry,” “bleaCHERs,” or worse, “debauCHERy”?
However, I would point out that the names of municipalities are generally not subject to claims for copyright infringement, and certainly not in the present context. Interestingly, Belchertown was named for former governor Jonathan Belcher, who was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1680s. While it is true that the town was called Cold Spring in the earliest years of its existence, the name “Belchertown” was well-established by 1946 when the former Cheryl Sarkisian was born. Even assuming that the blessed event put the world on notice that the moniker “Cher” was forever protected from infringement, these protections would have no application to Governor Belcher’s namesake town. (Home of the Orioles!)
In fact, as a direct descendant of his excellency, the admittedly unfortunately named Governor Belcher, I am keenly interested in protecting his memory and estate from those who would appropriate his good name to their own use, particularly when that use involves ass-less leather chaps. Unfortunately, the relevant statute of limitations has no doubt run, and I am left without recourse in my attempts to halt Cher’s wrongful and tasteless assumption of the name. Indeed, there is truth to the artist’s assertion that one cannot turn back time.
Again, thank you for your reply.


Posted on January 26, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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