Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Letter to Roy

To: Roy Halladay
From: ZWR

Re: Funner


Hello! It's Zoo With Roy, of I Want to Go to the Zoo with Roy Halladay, the world's single most successful bolg about wanting to go to the zoo with... you (?) ... ever (you can find us on the web at zoowithroy.com; as featured recently in the New York Times).

But enough with introductions. I'm sure it's come to your attention that the busters over at MLBPA made me remove my funner shirt from the ZWR web store, a shirt that was made in large part- I feel obliged to add- to foster a greater sense of community and revel in this celebratory period of success for the team that we fans invest so much of our time, energy, love, and money in. Seemingly converse to that sentiment, I understand the foundational intent behind the lawyers' action (while disagreeing with it and, frankly, questioning some aspects of the legal validity). But at any rate, I don't have near the resources or capacity to fight this.

So I come to you, our hero. Would you (or your agent or whatever--I know you're kind of busy right now...) be willing to grant me expressed written consent to sell the "It's Only Gonna Get Funner" t-shirt?

Since it's now become a matter of principle, I'll happily donate 100% of the profit I make off of it to the Cancer Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This would be a classic win-win scenario. I'd also like to ask the MLBPA to match said donation, but we'll take baby steps for now.

Oh, and if you do this please have it notarized.

All the best... see you when we go to the zoo. Beat the Giants.



  1. Hopefully Roy Halladay checks this site as often as I do. Good luck!


  2. Dear ZWR,

    Please remove the word "love" from your "bolg" post of Tuesday, October 12, 2010. Mike Lieberthal once used said word in passing and, thus, it is under trademark by the MLBPA. Please refrain from using this word again in future "bolg" posts.

    Yours in Roy,

    Lawyer Donkey

    (Seriously, though. That shirt does not make use of Roy's likeness or name. It's literally just block letters spelling out a 5-word phrase that he happened to use in an interview. In what world does anybody have rights over that? If you shortened it to "Funner," would they still have rights? How? It makes no sense.)

  3. What would they do if I just so happened to get my own "It's only gonna get funner" shirt made and wore it to games?

  4. Whuck? Did MLBPA go and copyright the text from the interview or sumpin'? I don't even see the leg they're standing on, here.

  5. For real? That is stupid. I'm pretty sure they are just trying to scare you into complying, hoping that you don't try to fight it, because I can't imagine there is any legal precedent to not being allowed to make shirts based off of something someone uttered in an interview.

    Actually, looking at the language on the MLBPA's website, it doesn't sound like they have ANY rights over single player licensing:

    The MLBPA’s “Players Choice” group licensing program utilizes the collective marketing power of Major League Baseball players to assist licensees and sponsors who want to associate their brands and products with the excitement that Major Leaguers can provide. Through an individual agreement with each player, the MLBPA holds the exclusive, worldwide right to use, license and sublicense the names, numbers, nicknames, likenesses, signatures and other personal indicia (known as “publicity rights”) of active Major League Baseball players who are its members for use in connection with any product, brand, service or product line when more than two players are involved.

    So the MLBPA only has licensing power over anything using the names or likeness of more than two players. I'm guessing the individual players hold the rights to anything that uses just their name and likeness. So unless Roy Halladay's own lawyers came after you, you should be fine. Not to mention, the MLBPA does not hold any license rights to things players have said in interviews.

    Obviously, it is easy for me to say but I would start selling it again and challenge the MLBPA to do something about it.

  6. @gutshotstr8

    Actually, that's not correct. If I read this correctly, the "two or more players" thing only relates to a product line.

    My guess is they would argue that the "funner" phrase is "publicity rights"...still stupid, and likely wouldn't hold up in court.

  7. I don't actually get this- as far as I know they're still selling "Get Me To The Plate Boys"(ryan howard quote) tshirts from last years NLCS online and nobody's stopped them (they being barktees- I think). If that's not a direct quote I dunno what is. What about the "World Phucking Champions" (clearly Chase Utley quote)panties on Cafe Press? Maybe because Roy said it right on cable TV it's different or maybe MLB is jealous you beat them to the punch. I'm just glad I bought mine right away!!! I'm gonna look stylin on Saturday night!

  8. Actually, I think the MLBPA is right on this one... publicity rights extend not only to traditional name and likeness usages, as someone suggested, but really to anything that draws its commercial value from distinguishing someone's identity. So in this case, "funner" would ring to Phillies fans as obviously identifying Roy Halladay, and thus it would be covered if someone tries to sell it. There have been cases that protect celebrity's slogans, catch phrases, appearance (rendered by imposters), and even the sound of someone's voice played by a sound-alike. Unfortunately, I believe this "funner" tshirt probably was in violation since that phrase (especially in the context of baseball tshirts) is so easily recognizable as identifying Roy Halladay.

    Note: this ONLY applies to a commercial context. So, to the guy who asked what would happen if he made this tshirt himself and wore it... nothing would happen to you there. But if you tried to sell it online, that's where you'd in trouble.

  9. of all the Charlie Browns in the world...you're the Charlie Browniest.


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