If you’re on twitter, you probably saw our note earlier today that the folks who own the Hollywood sign have been in touch with the NHL regarding Jonathan Bernier’s mask. According to sources, Bernier either needs to remove the sign from his current mask or he must pay royalties for using it.
After his pre-game skate this morning, Bernier appeared frustrated by the entire issue, saying “I don’t understand. Guys here have been using the Hollywood sign on their masks going all the way back to Kelly Hrudey.”
True. So, we phoned up Hrudey to see if he ever had any similar complications back in his playing days.
He says he remembers having discussions with Lenny Davis (his friend and somebody who worked with artist Don Straus on the design) about the potential issue when they were coming up with the artwork for his ‘Hollywood’ themed Kings mask.
“It was a long time ago, so my memory’s a little fuzzy,” Hrudey jokingly began. “But, I think we felt that it was similar to the premise Andy Warhol used regarding his interpretation of the Campbell’s soup can.” (referring to the lawsuit between Warhol and the soup company)
He went on to say that although he’s not a lawyer, he definitely understands the copyright/trademark concern. However, he’s also very disappointed to hear that it’s come to this. Hrudey thinks the Hollywood sign is one of the iconic things that immediately comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles.
One of his other all-time favorite masks was Mike Richter’s ‘Statue of Liberty’ edition that he wore for the New York Rangers. Hrudey thought that was “a real thing of beauty.”
As for Bernier, he’ll likely be getting one more start this season – when the Kings play back-to-back games later this month in Edmonton and Minnesota. If so, he’s likely to finally debut the mask we exclusively told you about last summer here on MayorsManor, one that was designed by an LA graffiti / tattoo artist.
For now, nobody seems to be happy with how this is playing out.
NOTE: We did attempt to reach representatives from the Hollywood sign via email and phone. However, nobody was available for immediate comment. If we get a statement from their side, we’ll post a follow-up article.
UPDATE: A representative from the firm/agency handling this issue did speak with us this morning and the entire situation has taken an interesting turn. Full story here.
Hugging the Post with Kelly Hrudey – full MayorsManor interview
Looking back with Jonathan Bernier
High / Low – Kelly Hrudey on Duty
Season Preview with Kelly Hrudey of Hockey Night in Canada
Paul G says
I’m all for capitalism but this is a joke…
Bernier’s not making money off his mask…if anything he’s promoting Hollywood
tell Bernier to change his mask to ‘Bollywood’
If Hollywood is filled with scumbags like this then promote their growing rival
This is simply disgusting. The Hollywood Sign Trust should be ashamed of this. JB isn’t making a profit off of this, he’s celebrating the city he plays in. This is what happens when idiots and lawyers (is there a difference?) overstep thier charter.
And they wonder why people are leaving the area…..
You guys are all correct! This issue is ridiculous! The fact that someone owns the Hollywood sign is complete bs!! Go Bernier! Go Kings!!!
Nick B says
This would be like New York suing the Rangers for the statue of liberty jerseys or mask Richter wore. Simply dumbbell. It is a great mask too.
What a load of crap. Hey Hollywood Sign Trust Peeps…..I have lived here all of my life and the only reason I haven’t left yet is because of my LA KINGS! So….suck it up and be grateful for the free advertising! Greedy bastards!
BERN BABY BERN!!!
Time to start slamming the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce……
Tell them to let Berns keep his mask!
Chairman of the Board
NAI Capital, Inc.
If you must talk to someone about this, contact the Hollywood Sign Trust directly. Leave the underpaid staffers at the chamber of commerce alone.
John Hoven says
Issue has been resolved, no reason to contact anybody…
LA Juice says
I’m normally the first person to agree that Hollywood is full of turds, but this situation is probably not fair to anyone.
See, The people that own the intellectual property rights to the Hollywood sign had no choice.
The basic rule of current Intellectual Property Law (particularly copyright and trademark) is that if you don’t protect your property you can lose your rights to owning and controlling it. Essentially, you have to strongly assert your control and ownership to keep it. And once you know of a “breach” in your mark, you have no choice but to address it, or its considered leaving the mark unprotected. You get a little more leverage if you had no idea someone was using your trademark/IP.
Letting Bernier bear the Hollywood sign on his helmet without paying a royalty will mean that anyone else has a claim to do the same thing. Then you get “HOLLYWOOD sign hats at Hot topic, and no one wants that.
In all likelihood they will work out a private deal on the matter, acknowledging that for a nominal fee Bernier can wear it.
Part of what you’re saying is actually true, according to the lawyers I spoke with today. We’ll probably have more on this story tomorrow and/or Thursday. Also, we have contacted the people representing the sign and are hoping to have a statement from them tomorrow.
UPDATE: Here’s a pic of Bernier’s mask at the Kings game tonight, sans the Hollywood sign http://twitpic.com/8z6hh7 (photo courtesy of M. Zampelli)
LA Needs the Cup says
Can’t wait for them to start covering the sign so that only paying customers can take pictures. Stuff like this makes me ashamed of our city.
Is there some kind petition Kings fans can sign to help out Bernier?
OMG, if this is Hollywood’s biggest problem….
On the upside though, at least Hollywood is finally paying attention to our team!!
Big T says
What, are the people who “own” the Hollywood Sign getting PR advice from the D-bag PR hack the Clippers employed who started the whole “Clipper Darrell” controversy earlier this month?
Seriously, you get free publicity from the town’s hockey team, the goalie masks are some of the most popular things out there for the fans to see, and they’re concerned that they aren’t getting their penny-pinching mitts on more cash?
The Hollywood Trust doesn’t make a profit off the sign – the money they raise by licensing the copyright is used for maintenance, security, and upkeep. And the law says you have to protect that copyright or lose it. So if they don’t take steps like this, they lose the copyright and the income and then the cost to keep the sign in repair and safe falls to the city of LA. Hope you like slower police response times and more crowded classrooms as a trade-off.
Just to be clear – Don Straus designed, built, and painted Hrudey’s entire mask.
Yes, that is correct. In the days following this article being posted I was able to speak with Straus as well. Davis was involved in the initial discussions with Hrudey and Straus, as Davis was the common factor between Straus and several goalies at the time. However, when it came to the actual building and painting part, that was all Straus. We’ll have an in-depth interview with Straus later this summer – where we’ll talk about some of his most famous mask creations, including work he did for Hrudey (Kings/Sharks), Brian Hayward (Sharks) and John Vanbiesbrouck (Panthers/Devils).