HomeRoast Digest

Topic: "Charbucks" as Fair Use (9 msgs / 212 lines)
1) From: Benjamin L. Alpers
I'm no lawyer, but aren't parodies protected under the fair use 
exception to copyright law?  Isn't the Charbucks name a parody?
-- Ben Alpers
    Norman, OK
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

2) From: Jim Schulman
On 21 Jun 2002 at 14:04, Benjamin L. Alpers wrote:
Interesting, isn't it? I think Starbucks is claiming that a trademark is 
something like property, so that those "damaging" it are liable.
In which case, if a parody or even the plain truth damages a trademark, you 
could find yourself in court. I doubt that Black Bear has the resources to take 
this up the appeals ladder as a free speech issue. So were's the ACLU when 
you really need them?
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

3) From: Al Raden
Jim Schulman wrote:
I think it's when you yourself use the 'parody' to promote your own 
product and business - treating the 'parody' like your own trademark.
Hopefully they crawled back into the small cave they came out of.
I'd suggest we not discuss political topics on this list.  I'm sure our 
opinions are divergent enough to start some real battles.
- al r.

4) From: kfarney
I know it is a principle thing, but what would be so bad about 
"Charbacks."  There wouldn't enough common letters to argue, with a 
straight face, about trademarks.
And it isn't like "char" is an inaccurate description of Starbucks 
coffee - what happened to imitation being the best form of flattery?
Benjamin L. Alpers wrote:
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

5) From: JB Christy
It doesn't matter who's right.  This is America, land of the golden rule:
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.  The suit will be settled in favor of
whoever can stay in the fight longest.
For some reason I read some of the official legal filings last night (too much
caffeine, couldn't sleep).  It turns out that in February/March Starbucks
attempted to amend their claim such that they would no longer seek to be
reimbursed for actual damages - they would just seek injunctive relief, i.e.
force Black Bear to stop using the name.  On the surface, a reduced claim sounds
good for Black Bear.  So one wonders why Starbucks sought to make such an
ammendment.  According to Black Bear's response, the effect of that ammendment
would be to alter the claim sufficiently that Black Bear's insurance would no
longer cover the cost of litigating.  In fact, Starbucks' filing specifically
refers to Black Bear's insurance situation, which I thought was strange until I
read Black Bear's response.  Since Black Bear is a small business (<$200K in
annual revenues) and cannot afford to litigate without insurance coverage, game
over, Starbucks wins.
BTW, Black Bear claims to have offered to stop using the name if Starbucks would
simply reimburse them for all the legal expenses they've incurred to date.
Starbucks offered a few thousand dollars, far short of Black Bear's actual
expenses.  Given how much Starbucks is spending to gather "evidence" and
litigate, this claim seems odd.  I wonder how true it is.
Ted Simpson encouraged us to "Eschew Evil".  In general I think evil is in the
eye of the beholder, and I usually bend over backwards to see both (all) sides.
But trying to win a trademark dispute by trying to remove the resources
necessary to make a case does seem kind of evil.
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

6) From: Mark Prince
At 12:04 PM 21/06/2002, you wrote:
If I did a comedy article on CoffeeGeek about $tarbucks, and I called it 
Charbucks, or Harbucks, or Charbux or whater then proceeded to completely 
take the mickey out of them and rip them to shreds, chances are they 
couldn't do a thing. They'd probably issue a cease and desist letter, but 
they'd have little legal room to stand on.
However, if CoffeeGeek was in the business of selling coffee, and we had a 
Charbucks blend, even with a tongue in cheek description of how it is put 
in lava pools until it glows red, etc etc. That's no longer parody per se. 
It's using comedy at the expense of a competitor to sell a competing product.
That's my read on it. I don't like any Corporate Heavy Handed Lawyer Type 
(tm) trust me, but the fact is, if you're selling product, you can't 
slander or libel your competition.
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

7) From: Mark Prince
At 12:48 PM 21/06/2002, you wrote:
I love Ted (platonically! platonically!) but I'm still not with him on this 
issue that Harbucks is entirely evil. I still recommend the shop as a place 
to go buy equipment, and if you must shop at Barbucks, well demand only 
fair trade or direct relationship coffees.
Corpbucks, love em or not, has raised the bar in N. America as to what 
quality coffee is about. They don't have quality coffee by our standards, 
but by Folgers (a true evil empire) standards they do. They introduced 
"espresso" into the lexicon of more Americans than any other sole entity. 
In some ways, Blahbucks is very much responsible for you, me, and everyone 
else who loves espresso having such a wide range of selection from some 
really star vendors online today, as well as in walk in locations.
Look at the machine availability for the home market 15 years ago, then 7 
years ago (before the Net took off)... huge jump. Bigger jump because (I 
believe) the Net made even more aware, but Starbies started the rush.
For that, I have to thank them, and while I won't cut them much slack when 
they play Evil Corporation, I do cut them some.
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

8) From: Lissa
On Sat, 2002-06-22 at 03:10, Mark Prince wrote:
I won't drink Starbucks anymore, unless my only other choice is random
brown stuff from large, steel vat that was probably made last year, but
it was Starbucks that got me started on the journey away from Folgers. 
I found their web site, bought some, and started on a research binge
that hasn't ended yet.  
Back then, there was no locally roasted coffee in Detroit or Ann Arbor
that I was aware of.  There were no Starbucks stores, either.  There
were a few places where you could get bad espresso, and a number of
places where you could get good Arabic coffee, if you knew where they
Being a librarian, I started reading.  This led to Peet's, then to small
artisinal roasters who would ship and, eventually, to my first coffee
roaster and greens from Tom.  This took about 3 to 4 years.  Heck, I
even wrote a 150 card Hypercard stack on coffee in grad school.
I'd predict that Starbucks and others like them, will end up redirecting
a small stream of folks into home roasting.  Most will stick with their
mocha carmel double skinny lattes, but a few will get hooked.  Those few
who want more, or like doing research or are control freaks (or all 3,
like me) will end up here, hacking hardware, raving about their
favourite beans and arguing about grinder design.
So, while I don't like Starbucks coffee anymore and don't like some of
their business decisions, they did wean me from coffee in a can.  Call
them the training wheels for coffee lovers .
Be well,
P.S.  I lost any sympathy for Black Bear when their web site, for no
reason at all, strongly suggested I use Internet Explorer.  On the scale
of evil Seattle companies, Starbucks barely ranks.
The greatest respect we can have for law and order is
to question and challenge the people who are enforcing it.
Lenny Bruce
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

9) From: jim gundlach
On Saturday, June 22, 2002, at 09:20 AM, Lissa wrote:
These are often put on by the web page designer and has nothing to do
with the character of the people at the company.  I'd go more by the 
of their page.
By the way, what did the Hypercard stack on coffee do?
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

HomeRoast Digest