Senryu : deplete


deplete my patience
companies steal history
claiming dead folk’s names

senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere

I get frustrated sometimes.  I did a t-shirt with a quote I saw attributed to Oscar Wilde.  I love Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” so did a search on his quotes on several quote sites.  I put the quote on a t-shirt and Zazzle banned the design because I put Oscar Wilde’s name under the quote. They are fine with me using the quote as long as his name is not under it.  Apparently a company has trademarked his name.

I am doing a self-challenge of a design a day.  I have a new blog on the travails, trials and triumphs of said challenge. Currently I put them up on Zazzle to sell although I will post some designs in other places. So today I vented on a post about it’s ok to use a quote but not attribute it on “Design 7 & 8 : Be Yourself and Zazzle’s weird copyright issues“.  The illogic of corporations and laws make me a little crazy sometimes.


daily prompts, daily post

4 thoughts on “Senryu : deplete”

  1. Well that is odd isn’t it. If they don’t want to give due credit then they shouldn’t allow the quote at all. Who copyrighted the name – his estate?

    I guess I’ll have to visit your other post maybe then things will become clearer.
    But politics in the corporate world are as bad as just plain politics.


    1. The corporation who trademarked his name has also trademarked other famous people’s name although the other’s listed died within the last 50 years it looked like — James Dean, Ella Fitzgerald, Malcolm X, Bettie Paige and others. It’s weird that their clients are all dead. I don’t know if Wilde’s estate signed up with them to trademark the name. He did marry and have two sons. At the time of his death, his family had almost nothing to do with him although his wife did send him a very tiny allowance.

      However in the U.K. things go into the public domain with the author’s life plus 70 years. He died in 1899 so his work is in the public domain. I don’t understand how his name can be trademarked. You are allowed to publish his works — and use his name in the publication. So you or I or anyone could reprint/republish his play “the Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde”. So if you can use his name to publish a book or play and make a profit if you are so lucky, it makes absolutely no sense that you cannot print a quote with his name. One thing he wrote was not published in it’s entirety initially due to the publisher’s fear of being sued. So there are passages from the Letter from a Goal that was not published until the 1940s. Those passages are still protected by copyright. Everything else he wrote was published in their entirety more than 70 years ago and are in public domain. Any quotes reported in newspapers, magazines or other avenues at the time are also in public domain. In the USA, his work is public domain too. So I’m very confused as to how they trademarked and “own” his name.

      As it happens though I’ve done more research and found there is some dispute as to whether the quote I used came from him anyways. If it did, it truncated something he said but there are a couple of other people from whom it could also be a truncated version of something they said. So in this case, I could do the quote without his name and not feel guilty. However, I was thinking of doing a series of quotes from historical quotes, especially women from the Victorian age and before, and I do want to give credit. Zazzle seems to be erratic about name use — maybe only the name just can’t be shown visually? I’ve seen that on a few t-shirt sites too — some creators selling fan art t-shirts but shhhh — don’t show the name although it’s pretty obvious who they are depicting. For example, the art is original but they are doing the Avengers with Thor, the Hulk and Captain America. Interestingly enough, parody as a category is protected in the US — so if you are making fun of known figures, you are more protected then if you are glorifying them. All of this is new and strange to me.


        1. Yeah, usually lawyers (kept employed). But maybe it’s just here in the USA because so many people sue as a first resort. Maybe it’s different in other countries.


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