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


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.

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

  1. 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. 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!!

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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

  9. “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.

  10. 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?

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

  12. 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.

  13. “…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.

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

  15. 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.


  16. 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 !

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

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