Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: TV clip, Scouts
Re: TV clip, Scouts
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 03:00:06 -0600
Tom Lynch <woodsliv@TMINET.COM> wrote:
>Why is it that some people feel the need to tell someone
>that one lucky troop got their picture on TV? A company the size
>of the Money Store must certainly know the law when it comes to
>using copywrited articles like the Scout Logo and uniforms.
Short stories, Tom:
In the early 60s, there was (and still continue to be) a company
called TomWat. TomWat was run by Thomas Watson, at one time
President of the BSA. Thomas, because of his BSA connections,
disregarded the BSA's strong rules against using the uniform to
advertise commercial products and had Scouts living in New Jersey
to appear in his commerical products catalog and advertisments,
including those in _Boys'_Life_ and _Scouting_. When volunteers
all over the country complained, Mr. Watson promptly removed the
commericals and "implied endorsements" and apologized to the BSA.
Let's say that he's not a strong a supporter of the BSA now than he
was years back, okay??
Recently, the BSA wrote to my insurance company (USAA, a national
insurance company specializing in full lines to military officers
and now to noncommissioned officers and soldiers) asking them to
REFRAIN from future usage of the BSA's uniform in their print ads
which runs in many military-related magazines and journals. The
implication was that the BSA, through the young man's wearing of
the Scout uniform (and there was not mistake....he was WEARING A
BSA FIELD UNIFORM WITH NO PATCHES) indorsed the insurance company.
USAA has agreed to not continue this practice after the current run
of the "family ads" with the Scout (and his family) illustrated.
About three years ago, an insurance company called American
General, which is headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, ran a free
calendar featuring families enjoying American life. Included in
that free calendar, which "cutlines" explains various products and
services featured by this multiline company, were a group of Cub
Scouts (in FULL FIELD UNIFORM, wearing BSA insignia) and a Den
Leader (of course, the Den Leader was a female). The local
Council, the Buffalo Trace Council, approached the marketing people
of that firm and informed them of the BSA's policy on
commericalization. The firm agreed to destroy the calendars that
they did not distribute and agreed not to use the BSA's images in
The bottom line from all three illustrations, is that many times
firms, even those whom give to local Councils or have leaders serve
as volunteers with the BSA, are NOT AWARE of the BSA's policy on
commericialization. It's MORE than just a "copyright violation";
it's a true policy that prevents our uniforms, insignia and those
wearing them, from being capitalized on by anyone: a family-based
company, a political party or candidate, a governmental
organization, or anyone else trying to tie their "item" to the
goodwill of the BSA.
Many companies that do business with the BSA, local Councils, or
volunteers, use "generic Scouting-like illustrations" to bring home
their point. There's nothing wrong with that, and in some cases,
can bring a familiarity to the product or item that wearing the
official uniform won't be able to do. They can create "paradies"
of the uniform, as long as they don't use the actual uniform or
uniform pieces in the parody. Some of us actually had a laugh or
two from the Chrysler products commericals featuring the "troop"
wearing funny looking uniforms and patches that look *similar to*
the BSA's uniforms; or from the wireless phone ad featuring a
"troop" of "scouts" lost in the woods except for one enterprising
boy that just happened to bring along his wireless phone to get
Most firms, in their "workup" of ads, do take the time to contact
the BSA's PR firm to get "clearance" for the usage of the term "Boy
Scout" or "Scouting". Some firms don't and that's where the BSA
law team goes to work. The same goes for the uniform.
>Just sitting in the background and reading these post, sounds like
>someone is jealous. If it were your troop you would probably have
>a good excuse
A subtle reminder: Boy Scouts and Scouters and local Councils are
PROHIBITED from using the BSA's uniforms, insignia and individuals
wearing the uniform, to sell ANY commercial product or item. Local
Councils can authorize Scouts and Scouters to sell Scouting-related
products (for instance, popcorn or Scout show tickets) but ONLY
during a specific period and ONLY to sell items related to
Scouting. This keeps the BSA from being named in a lawsuit should
the product not act or work as "advertised" or sold, and keeps the
local Council and it's units from being parties to lawsuits should
a person complain that an item sold or advertised by Scouts or
Scouters does not "work out" (or that a politician or issue is not
agreed to by them).
The BSA also PROHIBITS Scouts and Scouters from showing up in
uniform during partisan rallies, events, or activities (even as
color or honor guards). The rule of thumb is that the Scout or
Scouter must be participating in a NONPARTISAN event or activity
and must NOT be standing on the platform or photographed with any
of the speakers.
Now, are both of those policies being violated?? You betcha; every
other day. And do we have Scouts and Scouters in full uniform
selling commerical products for our units?? Yep, all of the time.
But it doesn't make it right, and when people post here telling us
about something they found, it's NOT because they're jealous.
It's because they're confused as to what the policy TRUELY is; or
to remind us all of the OFFICIAL policy.
Reference to both of the policy lines are found in the Rules and
Regulations of the BSA, as well as within the pages of the Insignia
Guide, leaders' handbooks and guides, and in the Boy Scout
(c) 1999 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.mninter.net/~blkeagle Burnsville, MN 55306-7130 (612) 435-3068
privately at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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