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Latarski: Age of Unreason
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Let me get this clear in my mind: local schools must change their logos because a major college, in this case Florida State University, believes the images somehow infringe upon their rights to mass market the same images and make millions of dollars.


The argument FSU makes is that they do not wish to have anyone think they somehow authorized these schools to use what they believe to be their image and that such use would dilute the association everyone has with these images to Florida State University.

On this they are wrong because the only image I associate with Florida State is wide right.

No doubt the argument FSU has rolled out is valid and on sound legal ground because they had a herd of lawyers earning their retainer on such a critical issue.

Despite any chest pounding, there was no real harm to FSU and the idea they somehow think there is would be funny if it were not so disgusting.

Having a local high school anywhere in the country using an image similar to that of a university will not cost that university a dime, but having those same schools saddled with the cost having to change logos, uniforms, colors, mascots or any other image associated with athletics can be an expensive undertaking.

A quick list off the top of your head and you can find high school teams all over the country calling themselves Eagles, Falcons, Indians, Spartans, Cougars, Lions, Bears, Rebels, Warriors, Panthers, Trojans, Wolverines, Devils or Huskies and doing so without impeding the economic wellbeing or national image of college or professional teams with the same name.

Last time I checked there were a couple of schools calling themselves Bulldogs, and some ever have a real live bulldog as a mascot.

I don't think the Kennel Club of America has filed suit against any of these schools and I don't think the schools have filed suit against each other for the exclusive right to use the bulldog. And while there could be a heated argument over who has the cutest bulldog that is not a reason for legal action.

Certainly the University of Georgia, Mississippi State or Butler University have the right to protect the image of UGA, Bully or Blue II from being purloined by others for financial gain but that is not the issue here.

Given Florida State's argument I should file suit against them. When I was but a wee lad playing cowboys and Indians, I made a spear and threw it at my friend B.R. Smith and it stuck in the ground. I think FSU, which may have been a girl's school at the time, may very well have infringed upon my spear design.

Florida State is taking its position simply because it can and cares not about any honest harm done to them or real difficulty the position may impose on others who have, in fact, done them no harm. Florida State wins because to oppose them would be useless and cost prohibitive for any community.

There was a time when imitation was considered the sincerest form of flattery and Florida State should be ashamed of its position, but no doubt there has been much talk of precedent and image and, uh, money, so shame does not enter the picture.

This is simply another example of the age of unreason in which we live.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at