Saturday, December 19, 2009

Village People are trying to shake down Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's amusing promo for his American Road Trip series has upset The Village People. The trail featured Oliver dressed up in the same fancy dress used by the band, and this, they reckon, is a copyright infringement:

Anyone who thinks the Village People are little more than a fun-at-the-time 1970s disco band with hits including YMCA and In The Navy needs to think again. According to John Giacobbi, the British lawyer pursuing Channel 4 on their behalf, "the Village People are still a huge, multimillion-dollar global business."

The name and costumes are trademarked in the US, and hundreds of commercial requests are dealt with every year, said Giacobbi. There was, he said, no such request from Channel 4.

How on earth did 'dressing like a policeman or builder' ever get a trademark approval? It's fancy dress. I know 'copyright, trademark and patent law in the US is fundamentally broken' is hardly a new insight, but even so...

Channel 4 don't seem overly worried by the threats, anyway. Presumably they're happy that there's always the defence of parody to fall back on.