The City of Surrey is claiming the design is copyright infringement
The owners Don and Sheryl Pitcairn have been sent a cease-and-desist order by the City of Surrey but have vowed to fight City Hall claiming that they are acting within the law.
A war of words and images has broken out in Surrey B.C., where a company that sells T-shirts and sweatshirts online is accused of violating local copyrights and trademarks with tongue-in-cheek slaps at the city's image.
The city has sent a cease-and-desist order to SurreyShirts.com, claiming copyright infringement of a logo image and catchphrase, but the company insists it's within its rights and will ignore the demand.
City solicitor Craig MacFarlane is adamant.
"Like any organization, [like] the Olympic committee, during the Olympics, we want to protect our logo," MacFarlane told CBC News.
Olympic officials were known to vigorously pursue any business, large or small, that had been perceived to be using the Games' iconic rings logo or other related images and phrases in any way.
The Surrey logo features a stylized building outline, with the tag line, "The future lives here."
Some of the company's T-shirts feature what looks very much like the same stylized building, as well as bullet holes and the tag line "Better safe than Surrey."
Another shirt features a handgun with the words "Surrey, the future dies here."
Owner Don Pitcairn also claims his images and slogans are trademarked.
"Trust me, I will be telling them that we have no intention of changing our designs. We have no intention of closing up shop," Pitcairn said late Wednesday.
Pitcairn says his images and slogans are anti-gang, anti-gun messages.
He also says changes to the Copyright Act last year holds that parody and satire do not infringe on copyright.
And after the light of the media being shone upon this dispute the City of Surrey has backed down. Better safe than Surrey, eh?
Had B.C.’s second largest city gone ahead with threatened legal action against his clothing firm, Don Pitcairn promised it would have been a case of, who’s Surrey now?
Pitcairn is the marketing manager and “creative genius” behind SurreyShirts.com, which sells garments with Surrey-related logos and satirical sayings, such as Better Safe Than Surrey (with bullet holes surrounding the letters).
That logo and another — “the future dies here” — caught the eye and raised the ire of a City of Surrey lawyer because civic officials believe it infringes upon the City of Surrey’s copyrighted logo, “the future lives here.”
Pitcairn received an email Jan. 31 from assistant city solicitor Philip Huynh asking that the firm stop making the T-shirts, hoodies and such with the offending wording and destroy whatever stock they have.
“We require you to immediately cease and desist from this practise as you do not have permission to use the city’s logo in any promotional capacity,” the email from Huynh said. “Failure to comply will result in the city seeking redress through the courts.”
Pitcairn said they will not “cease and desist.”
In the City of Surrey logo two stylized buildings are to the left of the lettering; in the SurreyShirts version, a handgun replaces the buildings.
“My initial reaction was let it ride, whatever,” Pitcairn said. “I’m surprised the City of Surrey takes this attitude because most people would just find it funny.”
Surrey’s city solicitor, Craig MacFarlane, said Wednesday that Surrey wouldn’t take legal action after all, despite what the Jan. 31 email stated.
“We just sent a note saying please don’t mess with our logo, that’s all,” MacFarlane said. “We will not take any action in court.”
To which Pitcairn replied: “Why, then, bother sending me that email? I guess our logo is so far away from theirs they recognized they can’t do anything.”
Copyrighted material is, of course, protected by law. But so too in Canada are parody and satire of copyrighted material.
“Ours are definitely parody and satirical political comment,” Pitcairn said.
In fact, Pitcairn believes the City of Surrey has borrowed one of his copyrighted logos, SRY CTY, for a conservation campaign.
“If push comes to shove, the City of Surrey will get a cease-and-desist order right back from me. If they’re willing to make a stink over logos, we’ll make a stink right back.”
What Pitcairn wishes is that instead of siccing lawyers on him, Surrey council and administrators would address issues such as the five murders the city recorded in January.
Pitcairn is himself a marksman and believes in gun safety. It upsets him that when he gets together with fellow legal shooters from across Canada that they make the typical Surrey jokes about guns and gang violence.
“People from the East Coast, when they think of Surrey, they think, ‘That’s where you get shot.’
“More than anything, if the problems of gangs and shootings and drugs are addressed and reduced because of this, we’d be more than happy if we don’t make any money off of it,” Pitcairn said.http://www.theprovin...l#ixzz2KErBiYtv