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Stupid, stupid, stupid


The Crippler

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OK I've just read two really, really daft news articles. The first one concerns the new Harry Potter film and the second concerns a Prostate Cancer advert.

 

from chartattack.com:

Harry Potter, the bespectacled wizard who fights off evil demons and snotty classmates, has a new adversary to deal with — a female fronted Winnipeg folk group.

 

15-year-old folk band The Wyrd Sisters are suing Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada, Warner Brothers Records, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead's Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood for trademark infringement in an Ontario court.

 

Here's the problem: In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire there's a band of wizards called The Wyrd Sisters, who play at the Hogwarts Yule Ball. In the movie, due out November 18, Cocker, Selway and Greenwood play these rock 'n' roll wizards, originally under the same name.

 

Of course, this pissed off the Juno-nominated Wyrd Sisters. Singer and band co-founder Kim Baryluk says if their name is used in the Harry Potter movie it'll mean the end for these folkies.

 

"[Harry Potter] is so much more huge than us in their reach that we'll go out on tour a month after the movie comes out; and we'll go all over to Australia, to New Zealand; and people will wonder who are these strange people stealing the Harry Potter name?"

 

Baryluk was first made aware of this conflict back in June after Warner sent her a letter offering her $5,000 to share their name. She quickly realized that sharing a band name with characters in a Harry Potter film could cause some trouble so she turned down their offer. Baryluk says getting her band off the ground again — which could involve a name change — will cost significantly more than $5,000 or the $50,000 Warner later offered.

 

"Do you know what I've spent on the band in the past 10 years?" says Baryluk. "In the last 10 years I've spent more than a million dollars. Offering me $50,000 is more than an insult."

 

So what does Warner say about all this? Although they said they don't comment on pending litigation, they did point out in a statement that the band in the movie don't have a name and that they have no intention to use The Wyrd Sisters moniker.

 

Radiohead's management were willing to clarify this a little further.

 

"[Johnny and Phil] were asked to be in the film to be The Wyrd Sisters, which is what J.K. Rowling called the band and then there's this [Canadian] band called The Wyrd Sisters, so now they can't be called The Wyrd Sisters," says a member of Radiohead's management, who didn't want to be named. "The [Canadian] Wyrd Sisters are just trying to sue them for namesake. The whole story is just a couple of people in a band trying to get some money."

 

Radiohead's management reiterated that the name The Wyrd Sisters won't be used in the movie. "In the film they're not being called by that name."

 

Baryluk's lawyer, Kimberly Townley-Smith, says she's heard Warner won't use the name, but that the damage has already been done — people already associate The Wyrd Sisters with Harry Potter.

 

"If you go on the 'net now and put in Harry Potter and Wyrd Sisters you get 6,000 hits or something crazy like that. People know already and that's because up until recently Warner had them credited and the official word was that the name of the band was The Wyrd Sisters. They've already created an association between the name and the band and that's all you need."

 

Suing Warner is one thing, but does Baryluk really need to go after 20 per cent of Radiohead?

 

"They're the band," says Townley-Smith. "Whether Warner made them or paid them, they were performing as The Wyrd Sisters. We hope there's artists respect there as well."

 

Warner and the Canadian Wyrd Sisters have been discussing their problem since June and in that time Baryluk says she's had to cancel a tour, postpone a CD release and had one band member quit because "she needed to do business and couldn't sit around."

 

Baryluk knows that fighting a huge conglomerate and some pretty successful rock starts will be difficult, but she feels she has to do it.

 

"I really feel that morally we have the right to own our name and we have a right to go about our business without interference. And anybody other than Warner would not dare to step on our dignity. Warner has this attitude that they can do what they want because they are big and huge and we're just flies and I think they're wrong. How else am I supposed to do my business?"

 

OK firstly, the name isn't being used in the film. Where is the problem? Also, why on earth are they going after people just playing a role in the film (Cocker, Selway and Greenwood)? Admittedly I'm a bit more hacked off about this than I would be if I didn't like those three but still, it's very strange. Especially as there is no mention of the band actually suing JK Rowling who actually did use the band name in her book.

 

And the other, from bbc.co.uk:

Campaigners are criticising a radio watchdog's decision to only allow a prostate cancer ad starring comedy star Ricky Gervais to be aired after 9pm.

The Prostate Cancer Charity ad features a doctor inserting a finger inside a man's rectum to check for cancer.

 

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, which governs commercial radio, has also ordered the removal of a "squish" noise from the advert.

 

The charity said the ruling was a disgrace and draconian.

 

All radio ads have to be cleared by the watchdog before they can be aired.

 

The recommendations on time - the ruling said the advert could only be aired from 9pm to 6am - are only a guide, but refusal to follow them can put stations at risk if they are reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.

 

John Neate, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "We do not believe this advert is offensive.

 

"If men's health promotion is for night time only and not in front of the children, then we are putting it in the same league as adult entertainment and top shelf literature.

 

"This decision is a disgrace."

 

Mr Neate said the charity had tried to use humour to raise awareness about the condition which kills 10,000 men a year.

 

Ricky Gervais said: "It's pathetic. One of the reasons that people die of cancer is that they don't get themselves checked.

 

"One of the reasons they don't get checked is embarrassment over the issue.

 

"The radio authority has actually enhanced this as a taboo."

 

And Peter Baker, director of the Men's Health Forum, added the "preposterous decision" demonstrated the obstacles campaigners were up against in trying to get men to take their health seriously.

 

But the watchdog said the "squish" noise had to be taken out as it was too graphic.

 

Will Stubbs, an advertising clearance executive at the watchdog, said: "We give charity and government campaigns which tackle sensitive subjects more leeway then we do commercial adverts.

 

"But if they are of an adult nature we sometimes have to schedule it away from when families are listening."

 

And he added commercial radio was "quite conservative" in many respects.

 

This news story is even more worrying. It's a BLOODY RADIO ADVERT! And an important one at that. Stupidity beyond measure.

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The first one seems pretty clear to be a publicity stunt. They know that if they make any kind of claim against a major company, the media will pick up on it and get them some free publicity. Golden Palace, the online casino, do a similar thing. They buy crazy things from eBay like toast with The Virgin Mary's face on it for a couple of thousand dollars, and every news sources picks up on it and gives the company free publicity. The band probably realise they won't win the case, but with all this free publicity, they can advertise on their next poster that they were the crazy Harry Potter suing band and probably find themselves selling out the venue.

 

As for the second story, I'm a bit perplexed. Are they trying to encourage people to get checked for cancer by showing someone getting a hand up their bum with a horrible squelching sound accompanying it? That's like McDonalds showing someone throwing up into a toilet and playing "Buy A Big Mac Today!" over it.

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There's also the "weird sisters" in Macbeth, which, if I remember from my literature classes, could have also been considered the fates from Roman and Greek myth.

Anyway, I read that name in the Potter books as a reference to the original trio of witches. So maybe they have a case against Shakespeare and the whole of western society.

Totally agree. It's publicity stunt.

Why both of these stories got printed? Controversy, however mundane or petty, gets to be pretty easy to write about.

I can also say with certainty, coming from firsthand experience, that it was a slow news day. Something, by the way, that I hate about my job.

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Hmmmm, the Harry Potter one is just daft!

They are just after the money.

 

The second one is dafter.

There not gonna get anywhere with arguing about it. It's gonna get shown after 9pm no matter what.

They wouldn't let the Cystic Fibrosis adverts play a year or so ago until 10pm, because it showed CF in it's true light (a hell of a lot of coughing).

 

They shouldn't have had an advert so graphic. Just telling people how to check would have done.

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There's also the "weird sisters" in Macbeth' date=' which, if I remember from my literature classes, could have also been considered the fates from Roman and Greek myth. [/quote']

It's all about the spelling.

 

Because they spell it Wyrd, it's not the same as "weird".

 

Also remember that Terry Pratchett had the Wyrd Sisters, so which came first? Could Pratchett sue them for stealing the name? :P

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