Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yoko didn't sue "Lennon"

There's a story making the rounds about how evil Yoko Ono is suing a poor artist just because her name happens to be Lennon Murphy. That story is bullshit. Lennon Murphy, nude model and musician, registered the single word "Lennon" as a trademark for use in music and Yoko's now challenging that registration. That's all. Reading the news stories, it makes it sound like Yoko's trying to get money out of some poor girl because she happened to be named "Lennon" by her parents. Yoko's not seeking money, she's seeking cancellation of Murphy's trademark.

Murphy's claim is ludicrous. She's attempting to hold as a trademark the name "Lennon" for cd's and live performances. Let me give you a sense of the ridiculousness of the situation. If Murphy keeps the trademark, she'd be able to sue Yoko for releasing a record of John's recordings entitled "Lennon." BoingBoing* would like to portray this as an abuse of intellecual property law by Yoko, when the opposite is true. Murphy is trying to use intellectual property law to obtain a government-granted monopoly in the use of the word "Lennon" for her band.

Murphy's response? chutzpah:
"This could very well mean the career that I have worked so hard at, the one you all have believed in, may come to an end."
Nope, it just means that she can't have the trademark. Nothing in Yoko's suit would prevent her from calling herself Lennon or from releasing music. It just means that she can't have the "Lennon" trademark. She doesn't get the government handout for a name that isn't hers. What a sense of entitlement!

The real villains are probably the record company and management company. The latter registered Murphy's trademark in "Lennon". Of course, "Record Label, Management Sleazy" is less newsworthy than "Yoko Sucks."

*BoingBoing's coverage (by Xeni Jardin) is pretty bad. Jardin writes that Yoko's suing Murphy "for alleged 'tarnishment' of John Lennon's name" when Yoko's suing for cancellation of Murphy's mark. Jardin makes it sound like Yoko wants money, which she doesn't. Tarnishment is, in this context, jargon. Jardin then writes that Murphy "is attempting to register that band name as a trademark" when in fact it has been registered as a trademark. The rest of the piece then quotes Murphy's "woe is me" myspace blog and notes that Julian Lennon supports Murphy.

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