You Can’t Copyright “Convicted Rapist”
Former South Dakota Representative Ted Alvin Klaudt sent a notice to The Associated Press and a few other news outlets on Monday informing them that he was reserving a common-law copyright for his name and that anyone who used it without his express consent would be on the hook for $500,000.
Two years ago, Klaudt was convicted of second-degree rape for coercing his two teenage foster daughters into a fake “fertility” examination, purportedly to assist them in acting as egg donors.
He got 44 years.
And, oh, yeah, 10 more for witness tampering.
The Associate Press has decided to risk it, despite Klaudt’s warning. As reported in the New York Times:
Laura Malone, associated general counsel for intellectual property at The Associated Press, said names of people, companies and products cannot be protected under copyright law. Names can be protected under trademark law, but only in association with goods or services used in commerce, she said.
“Even if there was a valid trademark, the mere use of the name in a news story is not an infringement of trademark,” Malone said Tuesday.
“There is no legal substance to these claims,” she added.
Well, Mr. Klaudt, it was worth the try . . .