Hershey Copyright Trademark Update


Several Days ago, I linked to a story about the Hershey Corporation suing a book publisher Simon & Schuster Inc. over images using Hershey images to market the book “Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire and Utopian Dreams”.

The lawsuit has been settled. The verdict?

The images stay on the book cover.

The book will, however, have a phrase stating that the book is “neither authorized nor sponsored by The Hershey Company.”

I’m giving points to the author of the book, who, upon hearing the news, stated that the decision was “a victory for people who can’t tell the difference between recycled paper and chocolate”. A snarky man after my own heart.

It was a specious lawsuit from the start. The images of the candy bar have far exceeded their copyright time limit.

UPDATE: I boo-boo’d. The Image is a trademark, not a copyright, and the two are far different entities. However, there are laws regarding “fair use” and trademarks.

The Lanham Act permits a non-owner of a registered trademark to make “fair use” or “nominative use” of a trademark under certain circumstances without obtaining permission from the mark’s owner. The fair use and nominative use defenses are to help ensure that trademark owners do not prohibit the use of their marks when they are used for the purpose of description or identification. Fair use or nominative use may be recognized in those instances where a reader of a given work is clearly able to understand that the use of the trademark does not suggest sponsorship or association with the trademark owner’s product or services and therefore is not being used in a manner to confuse the reader.

Whether the use of the trademark on the book cover falls under “fair or nominative use”, I leave it to you to interpret. Personally, if I were to pick up a book with the above cover, at no point would I think “Ah, Hershey signed off on this”. But hey, that’s simply my perspective.

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