Nathan for You Legal Advice

Starbucks has not filed any legal action, although it has told reporters it is “evaluating” the possibility while reiterating that the name “Starbucks” is a protected trademark. After the episode aired, it was celebrated by television critics. [3] [4] Readers will recall the strange case of “Dumb Starbucks” earlier this year, which initially seemed to raise the question of whether a coffee shop that transparently uses Starbucks` trademarks and copyrights could claim fair use as an art gallery. It turns out the whole performance was just that, a preparation for a Comedy Central series that has since made its debut. We`re not TV critics, of course, but in addition to being effusive (and no doubt ironic), the entire episode is an interesting platform for questions about players and entities that can claim fair use for copyrights or trademarks on visual and creative works. In the end, the question of parody/fair dealing could never really be answered, but the coverage of the many news clips contained in the exhibition is a reminder of how difficult it is to apply critical concepts of art to legal analysis. Elias Zacklin is the owner of The Helio Cafe, a small café in Los Feliz, Los Angeles that customers miss. [5] Fielder meets with Zacklin to discuss how he can compete with the big coffee chains. His idea is that the parody law allows fair use of a company`s logos and branding that should attract its customers. He suggests changing Helio`s name to a parody of Starbucks called “Dumb Starbucks”. [5] Fielder meets with attorney Peter J.

Marx, who tells him that legality is not yet valid because individuals might confuse Dumb Starbucks with the notorious company unless Fielder has established himself as a parody artist. In a twist, Fielder reveals that he made Marx sign a release form making him liable for any legal damage the stunt might cause. [5] Marx refused to return the contract to Fielder, but Fielder confirmed that they had video footage of him signing the contract, which would stand up in court. Zacklin and Fielder began writing parodies of popular songs to perform at an open mic party. Fielder also opened an art gallery with visual art that poked fun at pop culture, continuing his quest to become a parody artist.[4] In an email to the media, Starbucks confirmed, “We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” [8] Mark McKenna, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in trademark law, told USA Today: “My hunch tells me that a court would be bothered by the amount of Starbucks brand used. It`s not just the word, but they made the store look like that. [8] It turned out that Comedy Central and parent company Viacom escaped Starbucks` lawsuits. [10] Most people in the U.S. who are familiar with the Canadian comedian`s work know him primarily from his Comedy Central television show “Nathan for You.” With his dry humor and impeccable performance, it`s hard to see why Fielder isn`t better known. However, its relative darkness lends itself to making his show such a success.

In “Nathan for You,” Fielder uses his purported business expertise to give advice to struggling companies. Since Fielder is not a universally recognized comedian, those who receive his help believe that he is authentic and follows his absurd and strange ideas. Only the audience is aware that the whole experience is part of a comic part. In February 2014, Fielder`s work attracted attention not only from the media world, but also from the legal community. To help a struggling coffee shop owner in Los Angeles, Fielder suggests renaming the store “Dumb Starbucks.” The concept? The store would look exactly like a real Starbucks, except that each item was preceded by the word “stupid”, from “silent espresso” and “mute tea” to the “stupid Nora Jones” CDs offered. While the plan managed to mobilize huge crowds who came to see the store and have a coffee, much of the episode was devoted to Fielder getting around the obvious legal issue of violating the real Starbucks brand. To do this, Fielder explained that he was allowed to use the Starbucks trademark because he parodied Starbucks. Although Starbucks never decided to sue, much has been written about whether Dumb could actually win Starbucks in court.