Tuesday, September 23, 2003

File under 'Our society is doomed'

There is a hotel next to the New York Public Library that decided to capitalize on the popularity and geographic proximity of the library by naming themselves The Library Hotel and numbering their rooms according to the Dewey Decimal System. (Do you remember the DDS? Yes kids, it's true, back in my day we actually read books that we got at a library that was so full of books that they had to have this complex numbering scheme just to keep track of all of them... it's so easy to forget that 10 years ago we couldn't just Google for information in the comfort of our own homes). So you could stay, for instance, in room 700.003 (Performing Arts), and your room would have a bunch of relevant books in it. A bit of a gimmick, but there are Tackier Things in this country. (Or maybe not: take a look at their Erotic Reading Room special...)

It turns out, as it usally does nowadays, that there's a hitch: the Dewey Decimal System that both the library and the hotel are arranged under isn't in the public domain, and the company that has legal rights to the classification system is suing the hotel for trademark infringement. There have already been other similar court cases, most of which were resolved in out-of-court settlements.

The trademark lawyer who is on the case said that "a person who came to their web site and looked at the way the hotel is promoted and marketed would think they were passing themselves off as connected with the owner of the Dewey Decimal Classification system." True, true, true... if the person in question had the intelligence of a fern and an eMpTyVee attention span and zero fucking clue about anything. No one with more than 3 or 4 neurons in their head would associate the hotel with 'the owner of the Dewey Decimal Classification system' because it would never even occur to them that such an owner even existed... it's like getting sued by the Greeks for using the signs of the zodiac.