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DC Entertainment Won't Allow Superman Logo On Murdered Child's Memorial Statue 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-some-good-PR-work-there-lou dept.
An anonymous reader writes Jeffrey Baldwin was essentially starved to death by his grandparents. Funds had been raised to build a monument for Jeffrey in Toronto. The monument was designed to feature Jeffrey in a Superman costume, and even though Superman should be public domain, DC Comics has denied the request. "The request to DC had been made by Todd Boyce, an Ottawa father who did not know the Baldwin family. Boyce was so moved by the testimony at the coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death last year that he started an online fundraising campaign for the monument. DC’s senior vice-president of business and legal affairs, Amy Genkins, told Boyce in an email that 'for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.'... For Boyce, it was a huge blow, as he felt the Superman aspect was a crucial part of the bronze monument, which will include a bench. The coroner’s inquest heard from Jeffrey’s father that his son loved to dress up as Superman."
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DC Entertainment Won't Allow Superman Logo On Murdered Child's Memorial Statue

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  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:24PM (#47402515) Homepage

    It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

    If they had not asked, DC probably would never have noticed that their logo was used there. On top of that, even if they had, I doubt they would have acted on it. Suing a grieving family over a harmless supposed trademark violation isn't too good for the company's reputation.

    If they tried to use the logo now, after having been denied permission, DC would probably have no choice but to sue since this is in the public spotlight.

    This would have been a total non-issue had they just done it and not asked anyone or publicized it.

  • Re:Superman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:26PM (#47402529)
    It's the American way!
  • by sconeu (64226) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:31PM (#47402573) Homepage Journal

    Sure they can. They can license it out for this particular statue. Once it's licensed, there's no dilution.

  • by koreanbabykilla (305807) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:33PM (#47402601)

    You are retarded, they could easily issue a no-cost perpetual licence for this. They just don't want to. There are ZERO legal issues stopping them. Licensing your trademark does not make you lose it. It is not going after unlicensed uses. I don't know how the fuck you have such a low UID and haven't read this here 100000 times.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:34PM (#47402623)

    "DC" stands for Douchebag Comics?

  • Re:Superman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:39PM (#47402665)
    In their defense, if they don't work to protect their trademark, then everyone will be getting their children murdered to put DC's logos on their headstones...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:40PM (#47402671)

    "Dumbass Cunts" would be my guess, based on long experience.

  • What (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jiro (131519) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:42PM (#47402681)

    even though Superman should be public domain, DC Comics has denied the request.

    You do realize that a logo is a trademark issue, not copyright, and trademarks don't expire as long as they are in use?

  • A little harsh but dead accurate. They're not legally obligated to sue the grieving parents. They could even draw up a contract and sell them limited rights to have this one statue in perpetuity for a dollar, or some such. For PR reasons, the DC rep could even donate the dollar to the rights purchaser.

    There are many ways DC could do this, legally and protected, without being asswipes. They chose "fuck 'em; none of the above".

  • Re:Superman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:46PM (#47402705)
    More importantly, without this trademark protection, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel would not be encouraged to produce more works!
  • Re:Superman (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:48PM (#47402715)

    Superman is the stupidest super hero character.

    He started out as a super man: faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and stronger than a locomotive.

    Which would be (sort of) conceivable within the bounds of a biological creature - even from another planet - and a comic book character.

    Then he started getting powers.

    Powers that make no sense. Flying? X-Ray vision? Heat vision then later laser eyes? Stopping bullets that hit his eye? Lifting continents into space?

    That is not a super hero but a God.

    Why not make him like 'Q' on Star Trek where he can just snap his fingers for Christ's sake!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:08PM (#47402875)

    The guy who wants this doesn't even know the family. The kids parents were abusive, and his grandparents turned out to be just as bad.

    It's not like this monument has some special significance to his family. Its not like the kid himself did any thing heroic or self-sacrificing. This story is a horrible one from beginning to end, but I don't see how this monument with the kid in a superman outfit is so important in ending it.

    So the kid liked his superman outfit. Lots of kids do. People need to move beyond this specific point, because its just not that important in this case.

  • Re:Superman (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:08PM (#47402879)

    or people could stop buying from tombstone vendors that are complete idiots. Some vendors are smart enough to buy a properly licensed object (of the gazillions out there) and embed it into the memorial. Problem solved.

    Did you really think this is the first time someone wanted to do something like this? The parents just need to stop shopping at Billy Bob's Discount Tombstone & Tackle Shack if they want something atypical.

  • Re:Superman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:21PM (#47402969)

    The problem was in the story telling. Every writer would put Superman in a perilous situation and then invent a new power to get him out of it. Eventually, they found it hard to write for Superman. After all, when you have a guy who can juggle planets around for fun, what can threaten him enough that readers would think "this could conceivably kill Superman?" (We all know that Threat Of The Week won't kill Superman, but the villain needs to have a reasonable chance of winning or there's no suspense in the story.)

    They tried correcting this when they reset the DC Universe and lowered his power levels, but the writers keep doing the same power ramp-up.

    Then again, some depictions of Superman work nicely with an uber-powerful Supes. The final episode of Justice League, for example. Superman is beating up on Darkseid and notes that he feels like he lives in a world made of cardboard. He needs to be careful of his every action lest he hurt someone or break something. For the first time in a long time, he feels comfortable in just letting go instead of worrying that hitting the villain would result in needless death and destruction.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:23PM (#47402987)
    Imagine this headline:
    DC Comics donates statue for murdered boy's grave site.

    That statue would cost less than the lawyer's fees for this fiasco and a hell of a lot less than a full page ad in the New York Times, but would get them 10x the goodwill.
  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:36PM (#47403079) Homepage

    I hate to get in the way of a good rant, but the players in this little drama are all Canadian.

    As you may know, Canadians are notorious for ignoring the US Constitution [youtube.com].

  • by Adriax (746043) on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:47PM (#47403173)

    Yeah, you're right, a child's death by starvation and abuse is such a downer and should be forgotten as quickly as possible. That money would do much more good for the world if used to create more cute cat videos and pictures for the internet.

    Not like any good ever comes of reminding people child abuse happens and kills. And even if it did, there's no way an interesting statue could possibly generate attention and remind people of the incident for decades to come.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:57PM (#47403253)

    I'm not sure that's true. These big publishers hire companies such as RightsCorp to "monitor and search for unauthorized usage" of their "intellectual property".

    If their rights protection contractor(s) found a Superman statue: there's no way these greedy b****rds could resist that potential revenue stream.

    True, but the media LOVES a sob story. Especially a David-and-Goliath one where it's a grieving family and a statue of their son vs. Big Bad Media corp.

    Doesn't matter who's in the right, or wrong, Big Bad Media Corp will be vilified in every news, blog, and article from then on. Politicians will make or break their careers on it (not to mention there's going to be an election for Toronto mayor later this year - you can bet all the mayoral candidates will be all over themselves trying to be first to capitalize on it).

    In other words, there's no way for DC (or Time Warner, owners) to win.

    Even if it goes to court, too. They may win legally, but lose in the court of public opinion.

  • by quax (19371) on Monday July 07, 2014 @05:23PM (#47403459)

    "I really don't feel too bad for those who let him starve and now want a monument."

    What the F*** are you talking about. The ones who starved him are in jail.

    The man sponsoring the monument simply does so because he feels the poor boy deserves to be remembered as a stark reminder that we have to try harder to prevent such abuse.

    Anybody could have been this boy's Superman if only the neglect would have been detected earlier.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Monday July 07, 2014 @05:27PM (#47403483) Journal

    I am not sure what planet you're yabbering from. They made a request. This is the opposite of hijacking.

    From DC's point of view, it's called being nice. They need only send a letter agreeing to it, and they get good will. If they are tied up in exclusivity contracts, you have a quick conference call with those other businesses and explain the following: At this point, I would be in favor of an organized boycot of the upcoming Superman/Batman movie

  • by quax (19371) on Monday July 07, 2014 @05:29PM (#47403511)

    Anybody who would have detected the neglect could have become this boy's superhero.

    The monument is to remind us here in Ontario that we have to try harder.

    Social services, the school records, neighbors ... there are countless ways this tragedy could, and should have been prevented.

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