Who Owns the Rights to a Toucan?

Allison Guy
September 27th 2011

Kellogg, the proud copyright holders of Toucan Sam, recently asked a the Mayan Archeology Initiative to reconsider their logo. Despite the fact that the two birds have entirely different colors, shapes, and expressions, Kellogg's lawyers insist that they have a special claim to family Ramphastidae.

It's particularly strange that the corporation would go after a Guatemalan non-profit when dozens of other companies have used toucans in their branding. Neither does Kellogg have time on their side: they registered Toucan Sam in 1963, while Guinness began using its iconic toucan in 1935. While the Kellogg lawsuit is frivolous, it does raise some questions about the commodification of natural images. When do animals become so wrapped up in a corporate identity that they loose their own?

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!

 

Comments are members only. Login to your account and join the technology debate.

LOGIN
Not a member? Join us

natinja
Posted 28/09/2011 – 01:42

Truth is in the eye of the beholder and it might happen that these two logotypes really do look alike in Kellogg’s eyes. As Ernst Gombrich reminds in Art and Illusion (Phaidon, 1960), pictorial representation, and consequently perception, is really a matter of psychology.

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

Join us!
Already a member? Login.