Feb 24, 2007

OSCAR: The Bully?

By Laremy Legel

I was made aware of something today which is highly disturbing. The news is here, but the short version is this:

The Academy is forcing blogger Sasha Stone to give up her website, Oscarwatch.com.

The reason?

The Academy owns the "Oscar" trademark and warned founding editor Sasha Stone that she has no legal right to the name and that her website "is likely to confuse visitors searching the Academy's site."

At this point you may consider doing the Scooby-Doo "baaaaarh?" Oscar owns everything associated with Oscar? Internet viewers will stumble across Oscarwatch.com and assume it's officially affiliated with the Oscars? What if the site was called ILovethesuperduperOscars.com? Then would it be shut down? Now, they may have a legal case, especially given the fact that they have 106 lawyers on staff, but morally I think they signed the bankruptcy papers long ago.

It's a clear example of a big and wealthy Academy bullying a blogger for zero apparent gain. Has Oscar been harmed by Sasha? No. The issue is Oscar feels like, after seven years, Sasha needs to be quelled. They don't like anything associated with their name that isn't shiny and bright and fawning. The fact that Sasha's website actually is obsessed with the Oscars, that she dedicates a year to one night, means nothing to them.

The idea that an Academy that honors films like Good Night and Good Luck and All The President's Men isn't gracious when it comes to online media is discouraging. Actually, I wonder if all 6000 Academy members are in favor of this? Was it voted upon?

To channel Fiona Apple for a moment, "It's a sad, sad world when an Academy will break a gal just because they can."

If you feel the same as I do, that Sasha should be allowed the rights to a site she's had for seven years, leave ol' Oscar a comment here.

Laremy Legel -- Warning! I don't write for THE ACADEMY. But maybe email me anyway.

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