This isn’t really a sentence that ever should’ve been typed, but somebody in the St. Louis Cardinals front office forgot to file copyright the intellectual whatever of the squirrels that ran onto the field during games 3 and 4 of their series against Philadelphia, and now that the “serendipitous rodent” has become a “mascot of sorts” for the club, every bootleg t-shirt jockey and sports-minded taxidermist is free the plaster the thing on its wares.
STL Today has the important legal analysis:
“No one can come and say, ‘This is ours,’” Haim Mano, marketing professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said of the Rally Squirrel. “It’s wide open.”
Major League Baseball, he added, could claim copyright of the footage of Games 3 and 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies two weeks ago, when a squirrel temporarily interrupted the game and darted across the field. And vendors could also run into dangerous territory if the squirrel-themed merchandise includes something that looks like a team logo or other trademarked material.
As funny as the discussion gets (and remember, it’s a discussion about how you can make chocolate squirrels and call them Rally Squirrels to sell them to dumb Cardinals fans, but if you put the Cardinals logo on them you’re infringing), it doesn’t get any better than this:
To help market the nuts at the St. Louis shop, a family member dropped off a squirrel statue that has been passed around the family as an inside joke for years. They placed a red background behind it.
“I don’t think anybody can copyright squirrel nuts,” he added.
They need to take advantage of the trend now, because win or lose, the “rally squirrel” won’t be around forever. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could think of another animal to cite when rooting for the Cardinals?