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To hell with Mary-Kate

original print date, September 23 2004

                Paul Ryan

A few days ago, Daily Ramblings reader Randy Bol and his business partner, Melissa Moss, received a cease and desist letter from Dualstar Entertainment, the billion dollar mega-company owned by the Olsen Twins. Dualstar has ordered them to stop producing and selling their popular "Save Mary-Kate" shirts.

Is the shirt tasteless? Abso-freakin'-lutely. Is it illegal? Not a chance. But since Dualstar has enough money to buy God plus a pony, there's no way to fight it. It's sad, really. Let's take a look at the ridiculousness of the charges.

Trademark infringement. The shirt doesn't use the full name of Mary-Kate Olsen. It just uses the first name of Mary-Kate. You can't copyright only a first name, or at least not in this case. You also can't copyright someone else's drawing. Since the drawing of Mary-Kate is an obvious parody, it's not trademark infringement.

False representation of origin. Nowhere on the Save Mary-Kate website does it say anything to make people think it's supported by the Olsen Twins themselves. While the shirt slogan is "Save Mary-Kate", it's obvious the money isn't going towards helping her. Once again, it's a parody.

Cybersquatting. They can't be serious. I wasn't aware that a blogspot website, www.savemarykate.blogspot.com, would be so highly coveted by the Olsen Twins. And correct me if I'm wrong, but to be convicted of cybersquatting, I'm pretty sure Bol and Moss would have to purchase the domain name and then try to sell it to the Olsen Twins.

Unauthorized commercial use of name and likeness. Once again, it's protected because it's parody. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. These are just a few examples of t-shirts that use the likeness of someone for profit and as a form of parody.

Unfair business practices and false advertising. Just piling on anything they can think of, aren't they? As I stated before, there's no false advertising here. You pay $20, you get an amusing shirt. End of story.

But hey, if Dualstar wants to get pissy about it, I'm sure Bol and Moss can just use the image for a different t-shirt. I've created a few ideas myself.

Okay, so this one really isn't any better. But really, if Dualstar's going to sue, why not throw in the cokehead joke, too? Might as well get your kicks in where you can.

Simple and sophisticated. The girl in the drawing (who is not Mary-Kate anymore) is the essence of the word "bitch". She's way too thin, way too sure of herself, and way too greedy living in her posh million dollar college campus apartment made especially for her and her dumb sister, neither of which really have any talent.

Oops. Sorry.

This one's my favorite. It still makes fun of Mary-Kate, but doesn't refer to her name specifically. Plus, I really enjoy the word "cokehead". Just say it, reader. It's enjoyable to say. COKEHEAD. Isn't that enjoyable? COKEHEAD. I'm not sure why, but saying that word is just downright pleasant.

To hell with it. Let's really go after Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and hit them where it hurts by telling the truth.

Marc Broussard
Similar to:  Lenny Kravitz, Ben Harper

Lots of the music I post in WMS is aimed at young people, but Marc Broussard that everyone will enjoy. A perfect fusion of blues and rock makes him one of the best new acts I've heard. The music is catchy, and his voice is off the charts. If his picture didn't prove Broussard is white, you'd swear he wasn't.

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