The Miss Worcester Diner has been making headlines this week after receiving a cease and desist letter from Harley Davidsons’ attorney, ordering them to take down a three year old painted sign depicting HD’s logo on top of the diner.
The owner of the diner has been seeking out media attention and isn’t complying with the demand.
And she apparently wants our input.
I have nothing against this woman, but she’s not going to like my opinion. Harley-Davidson owns the trademark, and they don’t have to let any business use their logo without their consent. Pretty simple.
The diner’s owner doesn’t want it taken down because she and many of her patrons are Harley enthusiasts. But again, that doesn’t matter because Harley owns the trademark and you can’t have it put up without their permission.
Don’t get me wrong, whoever contacted HD headquarters is probably a joyless boob who came out to a Nickelback song on their fourth wedding day. But they did what they did, and now the only appropriate thing for Miss Worcester Diner to do is to take the sign down.
Some have suggested that HD should be thankful for the free advertising. These marketing geniuses overlook the fact that HD is a multi-billion dollar company that doesn’t need a diner in Worcester to advertise for them. They allocate millions of dollars a year for advertising campaigns that THEY choose. They’ve spent millions of dollars on corporate branding so that their logo can be displayed in a manner THEY choose. This isn’t a knock on the artist or Miss Worcester Diner. It’s a company looking out for its own self interests.
It’s perfectly reasonable for the average person to drive by the diner and assume that HD owns the diner. The sign is that prominent.
This creates a potential legal liability for HD that they didn’t sign up for. Let’s suppose a person goes and gets a meal there, assuming that it’s owned by HD. A waitress is rude to them, and they remember this and don’t buy a motorcycle because of that. It probably won’t happen, but it could. HD gains nothing from having that sign there, but they risk losing a lot.
HD doesn’t want to have to worry about potential litigation if there’s a slip and fall, or a waitress spills coffee on someone, or an employee of the diner says something controversial on social media. Then they end up getting attacked by a mob, just like our advertisers have been over the years, due to mutual association. HD has the right to decide who they want representing them.
Let’s take this scenario. I put Miss Worcester Diner stuff all over the blog, and it looks like they might be more than just advertisers. Then I go and say something controversial (not that we’ve ever done anything like that before), who’s the mob going after? My perceived advertisers and partners. Miss Worcester Diner didn’t sign up for that, and they shouldn’t have to deal with it because I used their logo without their consent.
Yet over 3,000 people have signed the petition to allow Miss Worcester to keep the sign up because…..feelings. That’s literally all this is – a mob of people who think feelings should trump copyright law. Pro-tip – if you’re dependent on a Change.org petition to get your way, you’re doing life wrong.
Also, comments like this from the owner don’t exactly help their cause.
“If I don’t get my way I’m gonna do some crazy s*** up there instead.”
That will really show Harley-Davidson!! I’m sure the neighbors love the sound of that too. If I were them I’d do some promotions with Hurricane Betty’s, considering they’re right next door. Offer cross-discounts to people who go to both businesses on the same night. No cover charge for people who just ate at Miss Worcester Diner. Add “tits and grits” and “clams and hams” to the menu and business will boom.
I just don’t get why they don’t take it down. They claim to love Harley-Davidson, but they’re not exactly showing it.
I’ve gotten cease and desist letters before. They’re usually not this nice.
They’re creating a legal liability for HD, but will they help pay HD’s legal bills if they somehow get dragged into a potential lawsuit in the future? If you think that letter is bad then trying throwing a Patriots logo on top of your business and watch how quickly “nice guy” Bob Kraft’s lawyer sue you for everything. Maybe you can bring up the Change.org petition as a legal defense in court.
The bottom line is that the diner doesn’t have ill intentions here, they just don’t understand how the law works and seem to think that feelings matter. They don’t. Your business is not your bedroom, and you can’t decorate it as you please just because you like a company.
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