Turner Entertainment Forces Name Change Of 'Surrender Dorothy' Beer, Which Isn't Actually Referencing Wizard Of Oz
It won't come as a total surprise that we have covered intellectual property stories involving The Wizard of Oz in the past. Both the book and film are iconic to say the least, so it would perhaps be a bit strange if such issues didn't arise from time to time. That being said, the relevant players here tend to be on the extreme end of the enforcement spectrum, which leads to extreme cases such as Warner Media opposing a trademark filing by a self-proclaimed "wicked witch" for some reason.The point is that the IP holders for the film tend to see anything remotely resembling a reference to the film as infringement of some kind or another. A recent example of this is Turner Entertainment, part of Warner Media, forcing 7 Locks Brewing to change its name and branding of its beer "Surrender Dorothy."
What was originally known as “Surrender Dorothy” is now simply called “Surrender.” The Wicked Witch won and 7 Locks had to throw in the bar towel. In this case, it was Turner Entertainment that was no friend of Surrender Dorothy. Its lawyers dropped a house on 7 Locks Brewing’s effort to trademark the name of their signature beer. (I think I may have mixed metaphors there.)“Basically, Turner owns the rights to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ” said Keith Beutel, co-founder of 7 Locks. “They claimed that we were using the term ‘Surrender Dorothy’ and they didn’t want any confusion with their branding.”It wasn’t just the name. It was the design on the can, too, which featured a curvy yellow thoroughfare that the media giant insisted was too similar to the “Yellow Brick Road.”So, "Surrender Dorothy," a yellow road, and also on the label that road leads to a castle or palace with several large spires. I know what you're thinking: those sure sound like references to Oz. But, no, it's actually a reference to a famous story and prank that occurred in Utah, where 7 Locks is located. The castle spires aren't Oz; they're the Mormon temple. The yellow road isn't the yellow brick road; it's the Beltway that leads to Salt Lake City. And the Dorothy? Well, that was the prank I mentioned.
A refresher for anyone unfamiliar with how the beer got its name: For years starting in the 1970s, graffiti would show up on a railway bridge over the Capital Beltway just west of Georgia Avenue. As motorists drove around the Outer Loop, the Oz-like spires of the Mormon temple looming ahead, they’d see “Surrender Dorothy.” It was a bit of whimsy, refreshed whenever it was painted over by CSX, the railroad whose trains use the bridge.I’ve never been able to find out who first daubed the bridge with that expression, but I did find their inspiration: Catholic schoolgirls who had earlier created a temporary “Surrender Dorothy” message by stuffing wadded-up newspaper in the chain-link fence of a nearby vehicle bridge.So there's a semblance of a reference to Dorothy from Oz, but it's a 2nd degree reference at best. It's not the brewery's fault that the temple and beltway look so much like Oz that they served as this inspiration. And that's not actually the point of 7 Locks' label. The point is in homage to a local legend of sorts.But, because trademark bullying works, and even though some commentators believe the brewery could prevail if it fought, the "Surrender Dorothy" branding has been, well, surrendered. But not without a bit of a middle finger on the brewery's new label.
So the new beer is called simply Surrender. The image on the can — unveiled early in the summer — still features the Mormon temple, but the Beltway is gray, not yellow. And the graffito on the bridge over it is being painted over by a man in a hard hat. All you can see are the letters “DORO . . .”What a great victory for Warner Media...
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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Sep-2021
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Massachusetts' Top Court Says Police Need Warrants To Search Body Camera Recordings
Body-worn cameras were supposed to usher in a new era of police accountability. That hasn't happened. At best, they've generated a ton of additional footage of interactions and arrests that may prove valuable to criminal defendants and people filing civil rights lawsuits. "May" is the operative word. Cops still control the footage, which limits public access and increases the odds that unflattering/unhelpful (to police) footage rarely ends up in the hands of the public. The end result is that prosecutors have been the biggest beneficiary of this so-called accountability tech.A case in Massachusetts has raised some interesting constitutional questions about body cameras and recordings. Officers responding to a domestic violence call recorded the interior of a home with their body cameras. Weeks after that call, they accessed the footage to find corroborating evidence that was used to apply for a search warrant. One of these is a constitutional violation, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court has ruled. (via Courthouse News)Here's what happened during that domestic disturbance call, as recounted in the opinion [PDF]:
After the first responding officers had entered the apartment, another officer arrived who was equipped with a bodyworn camera, which recorded the areas of the home through which he moved, as well as his interactions with the defendant, his sister, and others in the apartment, including a number of police officers. The video footage obtained shows that when the officer arrived at the home, the door was ajar; he entered the living room, where at least two other officers were present…The officer wearing the camera walked past the defendant's sister and ascended the stairs. Standing at the top of the staircase, he spoke with the defendant, who was standing at the threshold of a bedroom. Through the open bedroom door, the camera captured a woman in the background. The woman was zipping her coat. Floral-printed curtains adorned the bedroom window just behind the area where the woman was dressing.The sister shouted from downstairs, and the defendant yelled "shut up." He explained to the officer with the camera that the girlfriend could not be rushed, as she was getting dressed, but that they would leave shortly. Once dressed, the girlfriend and the defendant moved toward the stairs; they were stopped by the officer.The "floral-printed curtains" would later prove instrumental in building a case against the defendant. The officer who uploaded the photo informed detectives about its existence, since the defendant was one of several suspects being investigated by the Boston PD's gang task force. He was already under surveillance by the BPD, with a couple of officers managing to successfully "friend" the defendant on Facebook, giving them access to his posts.Here's where the distinctive curtains resurfaced:
Two weeks after the domestic disturbance call, the detective noticed that the defendant had posted what the officer believed to be a recently created video recording of the defendant holding a firearm in a bedroom, with floral-printed curtains visible in the background. After he saw the posted recording, the detective retrieved the DVD containing the body-worn camera footage from his colleague and reviewed it.Peering into the defendant's home caught on the body-worn camera footage, the detective saw the defendant's girlfriend zipping her coat in the defendant's bedroom, while standing next to what the detective believed were the same distinctive curtains visible in the posted video recording. This was significant to the detective because it established the location of the posted video recording that had showed the defendant apparently holding a firearm.Using this information gleaned from the BWC recording made two weeks earlier, detectives obtained a search warrant for home, specifically noting the curtains seen in both the social media post and the officer's camera footage. The house was searched, resulting in the discovery of weapons and some marijuana.The defendant argued the initial recording violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The court disagrees, noting that the recording of areas in plain view of the officer merely duplicated what the officer could see with his own eyes.
We conclude that, where, as here, the officer was lawfully present in the home and the body-worn camera captured only the areas and items in the plain view of the officer as he or she traversed the home, in a manner consistent with the reasons for the officer's lawful presence, the recording is not a search in the constitutional sense and does not violate the Fourth Amendment or art. 14. This conclusion follows from our jurisprudence regarding the photographic preservation of a crime scene.Even though a recording is more "permanent" than an officer's memory, there's still no violation. Precedent says officers can document crime scenes and domestic disturbances fall on the long list of criminal acts officers are sent to respond to. The recording was not a violation, even though it could be accessed at any point past its creation by investigators.However, the court says viewing the footage a few weeks later was unconstitutional.
[W]e conclude that while the plain view observation doctrine extended to the officer's recording of his interactions in the defendant's home in response to the domestic disturbance call, that doctrine cannot be stretched to sanction the subsequent review of the footage for reasons unrelated to the call.The 21st century is no time to bring back some of the worst aspects of British rule, says the court.
The ability of police officers, at any later point, to trawl through video footage to look for evidence of crimes unrelated to the officers' lawful presence in the home when they were responding to a call for assistance is the virtual equivalent of a general warrant.The BPD can't do that without a warrant, given the lack of connection between the domestic disturbance and any suspected gun/drug criminal activity.
Moreover, the subsequent review of the footage in connection with the unrelated investigation of the defendant falls outside the rationale justifying the recording in the first instance. Such a review is divorced from protecting police officers from false accusations of misconduct, ensuring police accountability, or preserving a record of police-civilian interaction. Instead, the use of body-worn camera footage in this manner, after the fact, for investigatory purposes unrelated to the domestic disturbance call, had the effect of allowing the gang unit detective to peer into the defendant's home for evidence to support an unrelated criminal investigation.The government tried to salvage its warrantless search by claiming it was only a very small unconstitutional search. This argument is rejected as well.
[T]he Commonwealth contends that the BPD review of the body-camera footage was not extensive, and that the review was targeted at one specific detail, the floral-printed curtains in the defendant's bedroom. But the constitutional protection against unreasonable, warrantless searches is no less applicable to a targeted search than it is to a more extensive one.With that detail removed from the warrant, the warrant most likely does not contain enough probable cause to justify the search of the house. The motion to suppress is granted and the case is kicked back down to the lower court, which will give the Boston PD one more chance to salvage its unconstitutionally gotten gains. But the line is clear. Recordings: good. Digging into saved recordings to aid in unrelated investigations: no good… not without a warrant.
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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Sep-2021
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