Hi Everyone (and especially those of you who, like me, never left their MTV’s Jersey Shore phase), I recently came across a bit of news that I thought you all might find interesting in the context of our recent Video Game Law lectures.
Last week, a news article came out titled “Why ViacomCBS could turn SpongeBob and Snooki into NFT soon”. The article describes how Recur, a non-fungible token company, is working with ViacomCBS on a project to introduce much of ViacomCBS’s intellectual property into non-fungible tokens, by Spring 2022. The article also notes that ViacomCBS owns a plethora of our favourite entertainment brands, including MTV, but also Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that Jersey Shore and its cast have found themselves engaged with intellectual property, and indeed, video game law.
In 2010, MTV launched a Jersey Shore game on both their website, MTV.com, and on Facebook. One article titled “Jersey Shore gets own game. Why is this happening to us?” reported on the release of this game using pithy phrases such as “the most pointless thing to happen in the history of social networking” and “the new online game should provide hours of, I don’t know, mediocre entertainment I guess.”.
Another famous (infamous?) brush that Jersey Shore had with intellectual property law happened back in the early 2010s, when cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (for those of you who aren’t fans of the show, his nickname is a reference to his abs) became embroiled in a bitter dispute with clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch. Sorrentino was notorious on the show for many things, one of which was consistently donning Abercrombie & Fitch-branded clothing: in 2011, Abercrombie & Fitch offered Sorrentino $10,000 to stop wearing their clothing on the show.
Shortly after, Sorrentino filed a lawsuit for $4 million against Abercrombie & Fitch, alleging the company engaged in “trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, injury to business reputation, and misappropriation of likeness”, after Abercrombie & Fitch released t-shirts with the slogan “The Fitchuation” on them. The Floridian district court hearing the case was not convinced, and ruled in favour of Abercrombie & Fitch.
I for one am looking forward to seeing how Jersey Shore will become NFTs, and of course, what entertaining intellectual property issue will arise as a result.