Evel Knievel not dead

But the Evel One‘s hopping mad and serving papers on Kanye West, the rapper. It sounds like something in the color of trademark dilution, i.e., tarnishment:

evelkkanye_westKnievel, who is seeking royalty payments and damages, claims he is most concerned with the video’s sexually charged content, which he says hurts his reputation as a role model for children.

“The guy just disgraced me. I have done the best I can to set an example for children, and then this guy comes along and tries to rip it apart,” said Knievel. “In my opinion, this video maybe reflects West and his way of life, but it’s sure not mine.”

We’ve been down this road — or perhaps over this canyon — before. The Smoking Gun, however (hat tip to pop culture wiz and Jersey City attorney David Krell), makes it a little more clear that part of Evel’s complaint is that West adopted the entire “Evel look,” to wit:

Evel Kanyevil

So is Evel onto something? Maybe yes. Maybe Kanye crossed the line this time. Wasn’t Aristotle writing about trademarks when he said, “No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye”?

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Ron Coleman

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5 thoughts on “Evel Knievel not dead

  1. I love this part: “I have done the best I can to set an example for children…” Uh-huh. That’s why every one of his performances had to include, “Kids, don’t try this at home.”

    I also find this part interesting: “According to Knievel’s lawsuit, the former daredevil trademarked his name and image in 2001.” I’ll buy the idea that his image constitutes a trademark; but I wonder how far that goes. I was once engulfed in great heapings of debate whether “poses” could constitute a trademark; and if not, whether a license agreement could stipulate no use of particular “poses”. (Ever get involved in the Open Gaming License, Ron? That generated a huge morass of IP discussions and disputes.)

  2. Cases have been ruled in the plaintiff’s favor over trademark infringements of poses, Vanna White collected money from a company using her likeness and pose in a commercial. Evel,”I’m trying to be an example, be like me and be an f-ing idiot with terrible haircut and a hairy chest to catch my bagel’s crumbs so I can eat them later in the emergency room” At least Kanye crashed and didn’t disparage Evel by successfully clearing SRC.

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