Jewish rockers may deserve their own hall of fame — as long as they don’t call it that. Or so the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland would have a court believe.
The renowned institution filed suit on Monday against a Web site that as doesn’t yet exist, www.jewsrock.org, future home of the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, started by a couple of high-profile Jewish scribes.
Suit claims trademark infringement, alleging the Web site will interfere with brand licensing; the Cleveland hall has sold more than $5 million of branded merchandise in the past decade. Suit wants the Web site to change its name and hand over unspecified damages.
“The idea that the public could possibly be confused between a large museum backed by any number of corporations and a Web site run by a couple of Jewish guys is kind of nuts,” Washington Post reporter David Segal, one of the brains behind the idea, told the Associated Press. Segal used to be the paper’s pop music critic.
Jeffrey Goldberg, Segal’s partner and a staff writer for the New Yorker, speculated on how far trademark rights might or might not extend. “It seems to be improbable that these people own rock ‘n’ roll, it’s entirely unlikely they own the phrase ‘hall of fame’ and I know for sure they don’t own the Jews,” he told the AP.