Monday, July 22, 1996

Week of 07/22/1996

Welcome to.. uh… HERE!
My greetings to the World for the "games."
- by David Matthews 2

"Greetings Y'all! And welcome all ye foreigners from different countries. Dear Lord look over these people and prepare them for the butt-whooping they are about to receive." - from Jeff Foxworthy, "Games Rednecks Play"
When I initially decided to write an article welcoming the world to Georgia, I was visited by a couple of men in dark suits. Since they were carrying briefcases and not rifles I knew they weren't federal agents or mobsters. Once they opened their mouths I instantly knew they had to be something worse- lawyers.

It seems that somehow they sensed I would be mentioning a certain international event in my article and that they wanted to remind me I didn't pay my prerequisite $40 million, so I was not permitted to use anything considered the "intellectual property" of that international event.

Of course I explained to them that all I wanted to do was to write an article expressing my greetings to the international visitors to be here for this event. A nice, warm, friendly article. They said they had no problem with that, but they warned me not to mention certain words that they considered to be "intellectual property." To which they shoved in front of my face a congressional shopping list of words and phrases that they said they own the copyrights to.

I told them that I wasn't going to mention the computer-generated mascot for this international event. Nor was I going to use their symbols, such as a torch, or those strategically placed five colored rings. All I wanted to do was to convey my warm greetings to the international guests coming to the city for this event.

Which, they say, they own the rights to as well.

"What?" I said in surprise. "You mean I can't even mention the host city without forking over forty million dollars to become a sponsor??"

Apparently so, they told me.

I told them that the name of the city was a common word, and as such they had no right to claim "intellectual property" over it. They said they can. Of course I could challenge it in court, but as anyone knows $40 million can by a LOT of legal clout. By the time a court even hears the case the games would be long over, and my article would be moot.

So to all those international guests coming to.. uh… this city in Georgia.. for.. uh.. this four year international sporting event.. WELCOME! Sit back, enjoy, and have fun.

Just watch what you say..

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