Re: Commercialism and the Benefits of Federal Charter
Bruce Harper (bharper@VT.EDU)
Wed, 31 Aug 1994 11:18:20 +0900
From: "Michael F. Bowman" <mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU>
[text set out to lighten the pack]
>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
I agree fully, but I don't see what remedy there is to the problem. I'm
sure if one were to look closely at the T.J.Maxx commercial (if one could
in 30 seconds), one would see that the kid in the uniform only _looks_
like a Scout. Put a tan shirt on a child, stick some various insignia on
the shirt, and stand back a ways, then have someone tell you if that child
is a Scout. Despite the fact that the insignia on the shirt has nothing to
do with Scouting, the person looking would see an _image_ of what a Scout
looks like and say "Yes, he is a Scout." I don't expect the ad agency that
made the T.J.Maxx commercial used an actual Scout uniform, but used something
close enough to present the image of "a Scout is helpful and helpful Scouts
help little old ladies cross the street."
>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.
Again I agree. Even if it is not a direct copyright infringement, it is
still the use of an image of Scouting. As I said in a note yesterday, send
letters to the corporate headquarters of T.J.Maxx (most libraries should
have some type of Dun and Bradstreet directory of major corporations).
And a word to the manager of your local store about his or her corporation's
activities may have a slight impact (especially if you say you won't shop
there until the offending ad is no longer running).
Bruce in Blacksburg
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