Welcome to The Morning Roar for Thursday, June 19, 2014!
Washington Redskins Lose Trademark
The NFL’s “Washington Redskins” franchise may soon be forced into a name change. There has been much public outcry regarding the “Redskins” moniker – a term that was historically used in a disparaging manner towards Native Americans. To many with Native American heritage, the word “Redskins” is the equivalent of the “N” word. But the Redskins organization has shown no desire to change the name. However, a development that occurred yesterday may change their tune. From Fox News:
The U.S. Patent Office ruled that the Washington Redskins name is “disparaging of Native Americans” and federal trademarks for the name have to be canceled.
The 2-1 ruling came Wednesday after a campaign to change the name gained momentum over the past year. The team doesn’t immediately lose trademark protection and is allowed to retain it during an appeal.
Much of the income of NFL franchises comes from the sale of merchandise associated with the team, and much of that profit comes due to federal trademarks placed upon team names which disallow other individuals from using the names to make a profit. If the loss of their trademark holds up to appeal, it is likely that the Redskins franchise will give serious consideration to a name change.
While many will chastise the Patent Office for “infringing” on the “free speech” of the Redskins, the ire should really be turned upon the Patent Office for existing in the first place. While we have many disagreements, I agree with my very first podcast guest Stephan Kinsella that there is no “natural right” to intellectual “property” such as copyrights, trademarks and worst of all, patents. The idea of a “trademark” gives exclusive use of a word or phrase to an organization for financial gain; it is crony protectionism at its worst.
In a more free society, people could form private communities and governments that make and respect certain copyright rules within their jurisdiction through contractual agreements. But without such contractual agreements in place, there should be no overriding “Patent Office” which makes these decisions at it’s own whim.
The Washington Redskins – along with all other NFL franchises and all businesses in general – should be forced to compete in the marketplace without relying on state-imposed trademark restrictions.
For more on intellectual property, check out my podcast interview with Stephan Kinsella (and cut me some slack, it’s my first interview ever!)
Mini Mi Meets the TSA
This past weekend actor Verne Troyer – best known as Dr. Evil’s “Mini Me” from the Austin Powers films, tweeted a pic of him receiving what appears to be a somewhat invasive “pat down”from a TSA agent. Troyer uses a motorized wheelchair to get around, and therefore presumably cannot go through the normal body scanners with it.
— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) June 15, 2014
Actor Zach Braff later retweeted the picture saying “Good work,TSA. You found the terrorist. It’s Verne Troyer.”
While both Braff and Troyer had a good laugh over the incident, the abuses of the TSA are no laughing matter. Children, the handicapped, and the elderly in particular are routinely forced to be subjected to humiliating pat downs which violate their basic human dignity. Because the TSA is a part of Homeland Security, it is impossible to skirt around their regulations. Even in airports that use “private” security, they are still overseen by DHS and must follow the same exact procedures.
David Friedman Debates Jan Helfeld on Limited Government vs. No Government
Many of my fellow Internet libertarians have no doubt come across the series of debates limited government advocate (and last week’s podcast guest!) Jan Helfeld has partaken in with various advocates of anarchy, or “no government”, including a couple of past podcasts guest Stephan Kinsella and Walter Block. While entertaining the debates have often seemed to break down into arguments over rules and procedures and less about the issue at hand, the most recent debate between Helfield and The Machinery of Freedom author David Friedman was much more productive. Of all the anarchists Helfeld has debated thus far, Friedman seemed to frame his arguments the best. I may do a further breakdown of this debate in the future, but for now, I will leave you the time to watch the debate first (trust me, you’re going to need it).
And if you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check out my interview with Jan Helfeld from last week’s Lions of Liberty Podcast!
Read The Morning Roar every weekday Monday-Friday!