Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it would pull an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in which the entertainment giant sought the exclusive right to use the term "SEAL Team 6" on items ranging from toys and games to snow globes and Christmas stockings.
The very day Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott became a co-sponsor of the bill, the Center for Responsive Politics reports, the Disney Political Action Committee donated $1,000 to his campaign chest; within a month, it had also sent $20,000 in soft money to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. And Disney had help: Other entertainment giants, from Time-Warner to the Motion Picture Association of America, joined the lobbying effort, as did some well-known songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, and heirs of dead songwriters, such as George and Ira Gershwin. The irony was rich: Disney, which draws heavily on public-domain characters and stories in its own products (Aladdin, the Little Mermaid, Mulan), was fighting to keep the cultural commons closed. And Dylan regularly bases his work on the chord structures, and sometimes lyrics, of older folk songs--"The Girl from the North Country" on "Scarborough Fair," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" on "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night." Yet there he was, demanding royalties from his music until 70 years after his death. Meanwhile, the Gershwin heirs, who didn't even write the songs that keep them wealthy today, found themselves essentially arguing that the 20-year extension would somehow be a further incentive to their dead ancestors' creativity, a claim that smacks of either spiritualism or desperation.
It's a joke. It's a disgrace. There is no better example that I can imagine, literally, of Congress caving in to small, highly focused special interests. ... This was the sale of legislation in the crudest form. They should be ashamed.
Department of Defense employees, their immediate families, and veterans have an implied license to use the Air Force symbol on personal items such as welcome home T-shirts, cakes, personalized candies, crafts and custom-made gifts.
These items must not be created for sale, advertising or potential endorsements. Department of Defense employees, their families and veterans are required to get a license if they have a company, small business or hobby that intends to sell products bearing any Air Force trademark.