2nd Circuit, Commencement, Copyright, Harvard

While Oprah Is At Harvard, She Might Want To Retain Some Lawyers

I don’t know precisely when Oprah Winfrey went from daytime talk show host to “I’m a DEITY now,” but I know that I missed it. I mean, I like her and all. And I don’t understand the people who hate her — like what has Oprah ever done to anybody? But I don’t exactly know why the world seems to hang on her every word.

Which isn’t to say she didn’t “deserve” to give the commencement address at Harvard University this year. Of course she did. Have you seen the people who have given that speech? When I graduated from college it was Amartya Sen. He’s an economist, Oprah is cash money.

I only noticed she was giving the speech because right wingers are acting like she needs to be shot because she talked about gun control. But apparently she also said: “We all know that we are better than the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle — not my channel, by the way.”

And that’s funny because the Second Circuit just ruled that her media network might have regurgitated a tagline already owned by a copyright holder…

First, if you are really interested, here is Oprah’s nearly half-hour commencement address. I’ve been to three Harvard graduations and haven’t actually listened to the keynote. I’m sure as hell not about to start now:

And when did she start doing that warble-y thing she does there when she says she’s “at Harvard”? I’ve maybe only seen SNL parodies of her for the past ten years, but at some point she was a person, not a caricature, right?

Anyway, Thomson Reuters News & Insight reports that the Second Circuit overruled a lower court to reinstate a lawsuit against the media mogul:

Oprah Winfrey will have to defend in court her use of the phrase “Own Your Power” in her magazine and on her website, a U.S. appeals court said Friday.

Overturning a lower court ruling, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals revived claims brought by the owner of a motivational services business who claimed she owns a trademark on the phrase.

The case should go forward, the appeals court said, because the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that Winfrey was “attempting to build a new segment of her media empire around” the phrase “Own Your Power.”

Own Your Power? I already associate the word “Own” with Oprah. My kid and I were watching Sesame Street yesterday and they said, “The letter ‘O’ is brought to you by Harpo Incorporated.”

I’m just saying, the Second Circuit better watch out. You don’t tug on Oprah’s cape. Next thing you know, she’ll be pulling people off the street and saying, “You get a Circuit appointment, and you get a Circuit appointment, and YOU get a Circuit appointment…”

Oprah must face lawsuit over ‘Own Your Power’ – appeals court [Thomson Reuters News and Insight]

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