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Super Bowl Party and Some "Not So" Divine Intervention

It is not divine intervention, but commercials that are driving couch potatoes from the temple. Nielsen ratings reportedly do not measure out-of-home viewings like the one planned this Sunday in Indianapolis at Fall Creek Baptist Church. NFL officials, concerned their $2,500,000.00 30 second commercial ad rates might plummet are forcing Fall Creek Baptist Church to cancel its planned “Super Bowl Bash.”

The NFL alleges that using the term “Super Bowl” and charging admission to see the game violates the NFL’s trademark and copyright. Church officials responded that they would stop using the term “Super Bowl” and would not charge admission. That was not good enough for the NFL, however, which alleges the law restricts the church to a screen 55” or smaller. The NFL is apparently referring to Title 17 of the United States Code, Section 110(5). While that code section does refer to a 55” screen, the church would still be in the clear if the church was less than 2000 square feet OR the single television or projector was of a kind commonly used in private homes.

When confronted with an 800 pound gorilla, most people back down without questioning their own rights. Often times a quick call to a patent, trademark and copyright attorney can provide you with ideas on how to do what you want to do without running afoul of the law or of third party intellectual property rights. We typically prefer you contact us BEFORE you get in trouble, but late is preferable to never.

BTW/if anyone from Fall Creek Baptist Church is interested in viewing the game in a 2000+ square foot venue on a 65” television let me know. I will be hosting a 17 U.S.C. §110(5)(A) exception party in Des Moines this Sunday night.

Brett Trout

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