David M. Proper
Legal and Business Affairs
NFL Properties, Inc.
The following is a response to the email sent to me on January 2 regarding the artwork, content, and merchandising on MikeBrownSucks.com. We will address each of the areas in which you raise concerns, namely:
1) The use of copyrighted material from www.Bengals.com
2) The merchandising of the Fraidy Cat artwork as related to the "registered and famous trademark" Bengals Tiger Head Design Mark
3) The use of the Fraidy Cat artwork as related to the "registered and famous trademark" Bengals Tiger Head Design Mark
(1) In regard to the use of copyrighted material from www.Bengals.com, MikeBrownSucks.com always credits each article or item of content to its author and source. In addition, credits and links to the full story are always given. Each item of content includes either A) a simple link to the content or B) the first paragraph followed by a link leading to the article’s site of origin. Visitors reading the first sentences of an article credited to or distributed by another website on MikeBrownSucks.com are always directed to that website in order to finish it.
Referencing content in this manner is a common and accepted practice. It provides a service to the Bengals community. We recognize that the Bengals and NFL Properties are not interested in the opinions expressed by MikeBrownSucks.com and our supporters, but we are disappointed that they have chosen a course of action that results in a disservice to a struggling fan base.
That being said, we have decided to remove any links to, or content from, www.Bengals.com in light of your current action. We find it suspect that MikeBrownSucks.com is being singled out for this action. An exhaustive 30-second search revealed that the following websites are currently engaging in the same practice as MikeBrownSucks.com. These sites include:
§ Many, many others not listed
(2) In regard to the merchandising of the Fraidy Cat artwork as related to the "registered and famous trademark" Bengals Tiger Head Design Mark, MikeBrownSucks.com does not claim to sell official merchandise. However, in light of your current action, we are forced to discontinue sales of the Mike Brown Sucks Original T-shirts with the Fraidy Cat artwork.
As you indicated a need for full disclosure relating to the sale of the Mike Brown Sucks Original T-shirts with the Fraidy Cat artwork T-shirts, our records indicate that we are still $465.48 “in the hole”. This figure does not reflect additional postage purchased while filling orders at my in-laws house at Christmas, so the actual figure is slightly larger. On a per item basis, we have sold exactly 40 Fraidy Cat Original T-shirts to date. As they cost $14.59 each to produce and ship, that brings the total per item profit on the 40 shirts sold to $216.25.
Per your request, I am including a “full accounting” of all 40 of our T-shirt sales as Appendix A. This was compiled from both our receipts and the transaction log on Paypal.com, our payment gateway.
Though it has not been profitable for us, I am confident that Mike Brown Sucks apparel would be a spectacular addition to NFL Properties Officially Licensed Cincinnati Bengals apparel. Additionally, we at MikeBrownSucks.com would consider licensing the rights to the name Fraidy CatÓ, MikeBrownSucks.comÓ, or the Fraidy Cat artwork as the cornerstone of a Mike Brown Sucks merchandise line.
(3) Finally, in regard to the use of the Fraidy Cat artwork as related to the "registered and famous trademark" Bengals Tiger Head Design Mark, we will continue to use the Fraidy Cat artwork as the mascot of our website until such time as we choose to remove it.
Fraidy Cat is an original piece of parody artwork, rendered by the creators of MikeBrownSucks.com. It is a commentary about the sorry state of the Cincinnati Bengals. Anyone familiar with Mike Brown’s tenure as owner and GM understands that this parody artwork represents the once fierce Bengals, rulers of The Jungle, reduced to a whimpering Fraidy Cat by gross incompetence at the highest levels of the organization. No different than a Jim Borgman cartoon, this satire or spoof or lampoon is protected speech under the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States.
In closing, I’d like to comment on your “mission” - protecting the value of the intellectual property of the NFL. I’d suggest that NFL Properties would be better served by trying to ensure that those who generate the value of your merchandise stop shooting their pregnant girlfriends, slashing their ex-wives throats, and soliciting $20.00 prostitutes the night before the Super Bowl. These incidents truly destroy the value of the NFL, not websites that, no matter what their name, actually serve to promote the very properties you sell.