(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Cause, not just a Name

I had been pondering what to write about today. I have done several posts on writing recently, as it has become much more than a hobby, over the past year. I keep to organised schedules (except for when I fall and injure myself!), I keep this blog as another writing outlet (and practice) and I have sent assorted stories out to competitions (which is getting less scary each time). Today I wanted to write about something different.

It has been some time since I have raved on discussed a meaty subject here. While procrastinating and trying to decide on a subject today, I found this article about Justin Timberlake and Take Back the Night. Apparently he has a new song out called Take Back the Night, which has the same name as the activist group Take Back the Night that endevours to bring awareness and give a voice to those who are victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and date rape.  The the group has been around since the 1970s, with the Foundation being a charity since 1999. There are several points of interest in this story:

  • An amicable conclusion to what could have ended in a court case on copyright of the name

  • copyright laws on Song and Book titles

  • a public apology by a male celebrity which will hopefully raise public awareness about both the group and their cause

Firstly, according to the original article by The Globe and Mail,  Take Back the Night had threatened to sue the singer over the use of the copyrighted name for his song.  It quotes his apology in which he admits that he did not know of the group’s existence and supports the group. The foundation has accepted his apology. It seems that all involved have learnt value things in the incident: Justin Timberlake has been made aware of a group fighting against abuse, voilence and rape; Take Back the Night  has decided to focus on the mission and raise more its visibility and raise more awareness. I for one, did not know of the groups existence until just over a year ago, when a friend of ours marched in one of their rallies.

Secondly,  this whole situation could have deteriorated into a legal scrum with the lawyers winning in monies spent on both sides. From my understanding, it was originally a copyright issue. Looking into this further, here book titles cannot be copyrighted. THere is also precedence in the US for a similar situation  with song titles (anyone remember Barbie Girl by Aqua?). There is also allowance for parody, editorial expression and satire, counted on so often by Youtube users.

Thirdly, a public statement from a male celebrity can reach different ears than may have normally listened to the message. A good thing has come of an unfortunate incident. I am proud that both parties have been responsible and understanding in the situation. For me, I take home the message that should be the most important: In the US, 1 in 4 women are victims/ 1 in 8 men are victims. (It is not unreasonable to surmise that statistics could be so horrendous in other countries as well). This should not happen. All of us need to be aware, to speak up and not tolerate it!

As a child, I was a victim of domestic violence (thankfully not sexual) and of emotional abuse as an adult, so this is a subject close to my heart. I have had several years (and a loving second marriage) to come to terms with the damage I suffered. I can only imagine the horrors of those that have suffered sexual abuse! No one has the right to treat another person in such a way. We ALL need to support the victims and hopefully prevent such atrocities occurring in the first place. Stand up. Be counted. Take Back the Night.

A Cause, not just a Name

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