Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Steal: Cheesy Christian Merchandise

I don't buy any of this stuff myself. I don't have a use for it. I don't watch American Idol, and I don't have any interest in wearing a shirt bearing a Christianized message based on the logo for it. I do use an iPhone, but I'm not wearing an "iPray" hat. I don't wear hats anyway.
I came across a story in USA Today about how a $4.6 Billion industry has popped up around ripping off trademarked brands and turning them into Christianized logos.
Some interesting quotes from the article (used under fair use guidelines):
Trademark attorney Michael G. Atkins of Seattle said legal parodies of commercial trademarks are protected under the First Amendment, but such religious products generally don't fall into that category.

"You could take Microsoft and change their logo around to make fun of Microsoft, and that would
be legal," he said. "But I can't use the Microsoft logo to promote my Christian theme because there's no real connection there. That's illegal."
and
Abare, the church marketing consultant, just wishes Christians would pay more attention to the commandment "Thou shall not steal."
"The whole claim for Christians in general is that God is the source of all creativity," he said. "I think there's something to being original that will speak to people in a way that we don't have to copy."
Seriously, what exactly does it do for a witness to show Christianity to the world by wearing merchandise based on ripped-off brands? NOTE: the article states those "iPray" hats are properly licensed.
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