Re: Commercialism and the Benefits of Federal Charter
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Wed, 31 Aug 1994 02:53:16 -0400
Alan Wolfson raised the question of what benefits the BSA derives from a
Federal charter. The Congressional Report made at the time that Congress
passed an Act incorporating the Boy Scouts of America made clear that the
purpose of the charter was the protection of the insignia of the BSA. The
report states "The passing by Congress of this bill will, it is believed,
provide the organization with proper protection for its distinctive
insignia, the integrityof which is essential to the maintenance of the
movement, and protect it from those who are seeking to profit by the good
repute and high standing and popularity of the Scout movement by imitating
it in name alone." House Report No. 130, 64th Congress, 1st Sess.
At the time of the chartering act, BSA insignia were protected only by
patents which expired after a set amount of time. The Act was intended to
remedy the problem.
All BSA badges and insignia currently remain the property of the BSA.
Under Article X, Section 4, Clause 12 of the Rules and Regulations of the
BSA, only the National Office has the right to authorize the use of
insignia, words, phrases, designation marks, pictorial representation, and
descriptive remarks relating to the program of the BSA on commercial
products, promotional efforts and/or sale and distribution to members of
the Boy Scouts of America and/or the general public.
Most of these latter items are protected by trademark and copyright law as
Those who would seek to use the uniforms and insignia of the BSA in
commercials, in my mind, are clearly infringing on the property rights of
the BSA, which are protected under a variety of laws extending from our
As individual Scouters, I think we need to let the offending commercial
enterprises know that we aren't impressed - that in fact it's offensive.
I agree with Wendy that it would be great to have a few addresses and
better yet fax numbers to get the message across. I'd also like to hear
what our National Office's General Counsel is doing about these
situations. These commercials certainly reach a lot more homes than we
can with flyers, etc. and they carry the wrong message, one that
denigrates all that we are trying to do to promote self-esteem.
Yours in Scouting, Michael F. Bowman, a/k/a Professor Beaver
Deputy District Commissioner Exploring, GW Dist., NCAC, BSA
Speaking only for myself, but with Scouting Spirit . . .
____ mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU ____
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City