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Tebow’s effort against “My Jesus” shirts seems off the mark

Tim Tebow AP

Though I’d prefer to keep as much distance as possible from my current life and the 18 years I spent banging powdered wigs in court, the NFL seems to always have multiple issues that require some sort of legal analysis.

The latest involves Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and his effort to get the makers of the “My Jesus” T-shirt to cease and desist.

Earlier today, MDS pointed out that the folks at Cubby Tees have politely invited Tebow’s legal team to stick it where the Perpetual Light don’t shine.

And, frankly, they’re right.  The logo infringes on no trademarks or other property of Tebow.

That said, the shirt blatantly infringes on the New York Jets logo, and we’re in the process of finding out whether the Jets or the NFL have launched a separate effort to shut down the sale of T-shirts that, at first glance, appear to display the Jets logo.

It would be surprising if the Jets and/or the NFL allow this to continue.  Owners of copyrighted material have an obligation to defend their copyrights.  If they don’t, they could lose the protections of the copyright laws.

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34 Responses to “Tebow’s effort against “My Jesus” shirts seems off the mark”
  1. jbuckland0421 says: May 20, 2012 1:34 PM

    I don’t mind Tim Tebow, I like that he’s a decent role model for the youth, but seriously? It’s a friggin t shirt…. Concentrate on throwing mechanics, not law suits over an article of clothing.

  2. mtheparrothead says: May 20, 2012 1:39 PM

    Yes a t shirt should be the least of Timmy’s worries right now.

  3. emma333 says: May 20, 2012 1:45 PM

    This company appears to be a small outfit out of Chicago. They parody many athletes, some by name. How many of these are bothering. It seems Tebow and his large LA entertainment law firm are playing David and Goliath in this situation…The Jets may have a claim, but it was all brought about by the Tebow machine….I’m rooting for David!!

  4. nyyjetsknicks says: May 20, 2012 1:46 PM

    If you don’t want people to mocking your fairytale than don’t mention your magic sky daddy every time you’re on camera.

  5. charger383 says: May 20, 2012 1:47 PM

    why should Tebow object to something promoting his hero?

  6. duanethomas says: May 20, 2012 1:50 PM

    I wonder if they would have cut Tebow in on the profits would he object?

  7. kingcarlbanks says: May 20, 2012 1:51 PM

    Pretty soon we’ll have to send tebow a nickel anytime we get down on one knee.

  8. keepounding1234 says: May 20, 2012 1:52 PM

    I like Tebow. I can’t stand the Jets. Would someone with graphics skills please make a Patriots symbol Darwin fish wearing high heels.

  9. tfaulk says: May 20, 2012 1:53 PM

    Parody is a protected fair use of copyright infringement. Aren’t you a lawyer?

  10. chassej says: May 20, 2012 1:57 PM

    jbukc & parrothead,
    No matter how YOU might feel, to a Christian this is insulting and disrespectful to our faith. Take a look at everything this guy stands for, do you really think making him out to be a modern day Jesus would fly.
    I’m willing to believe that Tebow would be more than willing to sit out if they allow the shirt to continue. The man has integrity and anything that paints him as a messiah, you better believe he will stand again.

  11. cousinrk says: May 20, 2012 1:57 PM

    Why is this still a topic you are reporting on other than its about the Jets and Florio has an obsession with them? I’m shocked you didn’t find a way to bash the Jets in some way. Move on

  12. chassej says: May 20, 2012 1:57 PM

    * against

  13. stinsonlives says: May 20, 2012 1:59 PM

    Tim Tebow can rest easy with the knowledge that this time next year, there will be no reason to mock him via a T-shirt ever again.

    And for someone who used to be a lawyer, you sure don’t know much about fair use law. Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music established that parody (even for profit) can be a viable Fair Use defense. It took five seconds on google to learn that.

  14. duneroad says: May 20, 2012 2:10 PM

    This company has had plenty of free advertising lately because of the lawsuit

  15. bhpage187 says: May 20, 2012 2:35 PM

    @ tfaulk

    Right. There could be a trademark infringement or dilution issue but not copyright.

  16. latchbeam says: May 20, 2012 2:43 PM

    banging powdered wigs… that’s funny!

  17. andyr2120 says: May 20, 2012 2:53 PM

    “Parody is a protected fair use of copyright infringement. Aren’t you a lawyer?”
    ————————————–

    Yeah, this seems like a slam dunk defense. Whether Tebow sees himself in this manner or not is irrelevant. The joke stings because we know that other people do want to see him that way. Those are people who probably deserve to be offended… in any case, this is 100% pure parody. Tebow and Jets can make threatening noise, but they would lose any lawsuits that actually make it to trial.

  18. Deb says: May 20, 2012 3:02 PM

    No, it’s obvious Tebow has no cause of action against the t-shirt design. But the company was using his name in advertising/marketing the shirt–which they can’t do without his permission. If they remove his name from their advertising, then he has no case. But from what you guys have written, it seems they’ve refused to stop using his name in their ads–correct?

  19. thegreatgabbert says: May 20, 2012 3:11 PM

    Tebow can’t hear you over the sound of the engines on his private jet.

  20. nomoreseasontix says: May 20, 2012 3:38 PM

    An insightful legal analysis of a profoundly significant issue….
    Thank you so much….

  21. theprocessoflosingmymind says: May 20, 2012 3:46 PM

    Tebow may have a difficult case for getting a cease and desist order approved. Only the item description uses his name, not the for profit product.

    Unlike, the NFL, the Jets, the Redskins, the Broncos, Manning, RG3, Luck, and JPP. I could easily envision that the NATIONAL tab at Cubbytees will have a difficult time surviving the next few weeks.

  22. Andre's Johnson says: May 20, 2012 4:59 PM

    “…the NFL seems to always have multiple issues that require some sort of legal analysis…”

    Well, in your current job, you ought not split infinitives.

  23. northeasterner82 says: May 20, 2012 5:16 PM

    You lose a trademark by not enforcing it, not copyright. VERY poor legal analysis.

  24. broncobeta says: May 20, 2012 5:19 PM

    How does Tebow not have a legal precedent?

    The web page of the t-shirt is http://www.cubbytees.com/ShirtPages/TebowJesus.html

    The description of the T-Shirt is:

    This fun design is not officially endorsed by New York’s backup quarterback or the Son of God, but plays off the themes of Tebow’s faith and his new team – borrowing from the J-E-T-S to promote J-E-S-U-S, with a fish for a football, and “MY” replacing “NY” with a color scheme that will be familiar to Jets fans. We don’t take sides on the field or in the hereafter — we just try to make fans happy, and this shirt should fit Tebow followers to a tee.

    They’re shameless and pathetic “artists” trying to make money off of Tebow.

    Vultures.

  25. thetooloftools says: May 20, 2012 6:24 PM

    It’s a shame that they have to link Jesus to a loser organization like The Jets. The Jets should be grateful just to get some run from this because they haven’t done it on the field and for Tebow to sue? Is this for real. Why is he even involved? Tebow or JeBow wasn’t part of the Bible last I looked. If you want to sue for copyright infringement put a Jets jersey on all your fans that are banging their heads off the wall every year when all is said and done all they are left with is EXCUSES. You have much bigger issues then some company pumping out some t shirts.
    Grow the hell up Jets… and by the way WIN SOMETHING !

  26. thetooloftools says: May 20, 2012 6:30 PM

    They need to pull Tebow’s name off their web site and this will all go away. If they issued a cease and desist and you ignored it then your stupid.

  27. bobbyhoying says: May 20, 2012 7:02 PM

    We’re talking about the Creator of the Universe who holds everything together, and keeps our very bodies intact. The t-shirt is disrespectful, regardless of whether you support Tebow or the company.

  28. pftcensorssuck says: May 20, 2012 8:09 PM

    I am really getting sick of having my unoffensive comments yanked off these threads

    and I know I’m far from the only one.

  29. beatjoeunibrow says: May 20, 2012 8:15 PM

    off the mark… haha what a pun

  30. phillyforlife says: May 20, 2012 8:38 PM

    TMZ obtained the cease and desist letter Tebow’s attorneys sent to cubbytees.com last month — in which they claim “The Merchandise makes it appear as if Mr. Tebow actually endorses Cubby Tees and its products.”
    ——————————————————
    I saw the shirt and I have to ask, Are his lawyers saying that Tebow is Jesus? Or the jets? Because no where on the shirt is there a picture of him nor is his name anywhere spelled out or mentioned. Tim is dead wrong here and it will be his down fall combined by the fact he straight out lied about not having a choice after Elway said that they asked him witch team he would like seeing that the offers where the same. He’s nothing but a greedy fraud, only reason he went to the Jets was because of marketing himself.

  31. dbo2020 says: May 20, 2012 10:37 PM

    tfaulk says:
    May 20, 2012 1:53 PM
    Parody is a protected fair use of copyright infringement. Aren’t you a lawyer?

    Surprised this one wasn’t lifted. I’ve had several comments disappear for even remotely taking a shot at PFT. This one will be gone soon.

  32. dryzzt23 says: May 20, 2012 11:21 PM

    I will parody the ACLU and Obama2012 logos for my own purposes and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

  33. orbearider66 says: May 21, 2012 9:24 AM

    But wasn’t his primary objection that the company was implying that he was endorsing the product? Say what you want about Tebow or Christians or anyone else … but, if a company uses a celebrity’s name and endorsement without their consent, they certainly have a right to object.

    I know Florio has a hard on for Tebow but, if his name was used without consent, I would suspect that even you would have to admit that that was appropriate.

  34. zeke2517 says: May 21, 2012 7:01 PM

    People don’t seem to know it yet, but this town is going to eat this yokel alive.

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