I happened to check the BS email as I am wont to do and there was a love note from Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), vaguely stating that we had failed to respond to a letter from them on November 2 of last year. The email text said "Please find attached a letter from the Collegiate Licensing Company legal department. Thank you."
Why explain what's happening, right? Just assume I know. Solid work.
The letter stated what you see on our background, but I will paste it here for ease of viewing:
Naturally, this did not go over well with me. Both the patriarchs of BS have a temper and we can be set off at any time. Some of you have seen this on this here site or on Twitter. We know this about ourselves and have kind of come to embrace it. It's especially useful when dealing with ignorant bullies.
Since I couldn't conceive of anything on our site that was a trademarked Purdue logo, I fired off a response to the "assistant" at the CLC who sent the email:
We do not use or display Purdue University trademarked logos or marks for anything and we never have.
We also did not receive the referenced letter dated Nov 2 that we are accused of ignoring.Please advise your superiors that we will consider further such letters to be harassment and will treat them accordingly.Sincerely,
This particularly pisses me off in light of the fact that Purdue themselves came after us a couple of years ago when we offered the t-shirts on the site. I don't think we ever fully detailed this on the site, but here is that story.
We wanted to offer some fun, original, entertaining t-shirts to fire up the fanbase. When we designed and produced the t-shirts, we went out of our way to ensure we weren't using anything that was protected, trademarked, copyrighted or proprietary. That didn't matter to Purdue's athletic department, though. We still got the threat of legal action because people could interpret that it had to do with Purdue. We spoke to more than one attorney at the time (another benefit of being a Purdue grad -- there are lots of other smart Purdue grads willing to help you) and the general consensus was that, yeah, they're being jerks and we could probably win such a lawsuit -- but do we really want to spend the money we'd need to spend to do so? The answer is of course not, since we barely cover our expenses on this site as it is, despite how small those expenses are. So the big iron fist of communist Purdue management wins again. We complied and ceased selling the shirts. And thus lost money.
Back to this morning.
Within an hour, a response appeared from the CLC's "Associate General Counsel":
I am in receipt of your e-mail response below. I am unclear as to how you can contend that you are not using the University’s marks. The University’s marks are wallpapered to the background of your site (see link below).Thank you for your response and cooperation.
So he was referring to our background image, which he apparently mistakenly believed was a Purdue logo. It was most certainly not. It was our redesigned, improved logo. I decided to tell him that and to be a d-ck in the process, mainly because that's what they're being:
The image "wallpapered" on our site is in fact NOT the official Purdue train logo. It is actually a revised, improved logo that we designed when the new one was released and universally derided as having phallic smoke, among other things. The official train logo is side-by-side with ours in the attached image for your reference.We also are not profiting or attempting to profit from Purdue logos. We're only trying to support our alma mater.However, to be left alone, we have removed the wallpaper, as you call it, from our site.Kudos to the NCAA for, as always, having the proper perspective and focusing on what's important.
Was I obnoxious? Absolutely. Did the CLC have a claim? Sure, you could argue they did -- but not really in the "spirit" of the law, so to speak.
Trademark violations are usually when someone is attempting to profit from someone else's protected work. We aren't doing that. We don't charge a subscription fee, we don't sell anything for profit, etc. And with everything going on in the NCAA, bullying a small-time Purdue site is what they spend their time on? (And yes, I know the CLC and the NCAA aren't the same thing, but let's not pretend the NCAA lets anyone meddle in their schools' affairs without approval.)
The CLC has been busy lately bullying and just being downright obnoxious. Check this out down in Alabama. No cookies for you! Gotta get their cut.
Another thing that bothers us about this -- immensely -- is that the CLC didn't stumble upon this by themselves. There is no doubt in our minds that they were tipped off to this by Purdue and, more specifically, Purdue's athletic department and sports information people.
We aren't sure what we did to make them dislike us, but Boilerdowd was told to his face by Tom Schott once that he (Schott) doesn't trust us. Oh wait, did I say I wasn't sure what we did to make them dislike us? Sorry, that's not true... I do know. We aren't under their control -- that's why they don't like us. They don't have us under their thumb like they do with the whole of the Lafayette media (such as it is) and other blogsites that rely on press pass access and the like. They have nothing to hold over us, as we haven't asked for a press pass in years and we don't require anything special from them that they get to deny in their heavy-handed way. If it sounds like this pisses us off, that's because it does.
We write a site that is by and for Purdue fans. We love our alma mater and we fight for it to be respected by national writers, other sites, and TV networks like ESPN and BTV....and we do it so much that at times we've had a reputation for it. We fight for Purdue to be respected more than Purdue does. That should tell you almost everything you need to know about Purdue athletics.
Sometimes we're critical of the athletic department and/or coaching staffs. On occasion, we're critical of players, too. But for the most part, we support them, watch them, write about them and publicize them. Readers and listeners have told us that they come to us because they can't get more than a few scraps of Purdue coverage elsewhere and that being able to read our posts "scratches the itch," as the saying goes. We love that and are flattered that we can do our part. The athletic department doesn't like this because we don't regurgitate their approved media narratives and we think independently. We criticize. We call a spade a spade. When the head coach of the football team says fans who criticize him are low-character losers, we react accordingly. When the University almost pisses away Matt Painter and then blames the alums for being cheap, we call them out for their poor judgment. Same goes for the abortion of New Pete, "Makers All" and the list goes on and on.
Again, though, these instances of criticizing our school are far outweighed by the game analysis, rah-rah columns and requests that everyone get out to support the student-athletes.
In the end, this is a bump in the road and I guess it's the price of being as famous as we are. But we will never understand why there is such resistance to our existence. Everyone who writes here or has written here either has a Purdue diploma or soon will. We love our school. We donate money to our school. And yet because we dare to have an opinion that isn't filtered through the University, we're somehow the enemy.
Some schools and organizations embrace amateur writers and social media outlets because they comprehend the value of partnering (or at least getting along) with other places that people go for coverage of their teams. That continues to not be the case at Purdue. And if you want people to play nice with you, one way to start is by playing nice with them.