10 thoughts on “Smart Art in the Phish Community”

  1. Great article. Sometimes it can be hard to draw the line on what is infringement and what isn’t. Sometimes I get questions about my Fishman circle headbands. Wondering what your thought are on that out of curiousity.

  2. @Alicia

    Fishman dress themed items are not infringing, as Phish has never sought to register trademarks in them as graphic marks as it has done with “Phish”, the classic logo, “Gamehendge” and the various festival names and logos. These are registered trademarks you can actually look up (and register) on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. There is a lot of cost and legal red tape in registering and protecting a trademark.

    The band name and likenesses are common law trademarks/copyrights and rights of artists to their own name (you can’t go out and bill your “tribute band” or rock act as “Phish”, although you can do a cover band and play their music).

    There has also been litigation which limits Phish’s right to confiscate merchandise to the trademarked items and not the non-infringing items Pete mentions (like song lyrics, non “Ph-” words like Phamily, etc. and other creative adaptations typical on the lot….like posters with just city names and dates that don’t mention Phish or the name of the venue because they could be “confused” by consumers as being “official” or “authorized” merch).

    This should not, BTW, be confused with “blanket” “no vending” or “permit” laws around venues. There is no inherent right to allow “shakedown streets” near venues. A lot of places like Hampton and NYC/MSG have had blanket bans on lot vending or harassment (need for city permit, sales tax authorization certificares, etc.). Merch can still be sold at poster shows and on-line. Pete’s point is that the more merch is infringing will give the authorities the incentive to eliminate vending of non-infringing art and merch entirely.

  3. You left out Phish reserves the right to change the rules. We ran into this at Superball where we read a legal document made by Phish stating all the above “rules” including a copywright on the word superball, but they also got a copywright for watkins glen and the dates 1,2,3 2011 24 hours before and 24 hours after the event. also they banned the sales of any kind of ice cream, so there wouldn’t be competition for phish food. I have not seen them pull the venue and date card before and neither did any other lot artist I’ve come across.. I’m thankful the Phish police didn’t take our posters figure having my baby with us might have deterred them from doing so. However I did hear of them taking lot art with only watkins glen and the date on them:( Kinda put a bad taste in my mouth, and would love to hear others take on this. Don’t get me wrong I will always have a warm spot in my heart for phish, a band I have been traveling to see for over 20 years now, and will continue to enjoy.. Also, as a side note “NO other band allows fans to have this kind of lot scene in any form, not with the Shakedown area, the shirts, posters and pins” lets not forget the Grateful Dead please….

  4. Ryan, fair point on the Dead but I was referring to current touring bands. The Dead were much more vicious than folks recall regarding the protection of their copyrights and trademarks. Phish lot is very chill compared to the issues fans had to deal with on Dead lot

  5. Does anyone know the legality of using the LivePhish logo in lot art?
    Of course the words “live phish” would not be included.
    I haven’t been able to find any clear info on it.

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