Your tax dollars at work

The last best place of all — the Lanham Act. From the Billings, Montana Gazette:

Congress finalized a measure Wednesday to prevent the unofficial Montana slogan, “The Last Best Place,” from being trademarked [sic] for a year.

The provision, written by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will stop the federal government from spending any money in fiscal year 2008 to process trademark applications using the phrase. Congress on Wednesday finished a comprehensive spending bill containing the measure, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill.

This is a little troubling. Generally when Congress starts micromanaging policies, it’s troubling, and this is an example. Senator Baucus has done right by his constituent, the State of Montana, but it’s only a matter of time before the Disneys and other big IP shops of the world switch their attention from copyright, which they have completely perverted via their influence (read: gelt) in Congress, to trademark. If specific would-be trademark registrations are going to be the subject of legislation in the future, the already-stacked deck is going to be even more ominously unbalanced in favor of Big IP than it is now.

That should chill your December!