Sunday, October 10, 2010

Suing Over Wrestling Titles

Someone on Facebook posted a link to a picture of a TNA United States Championship. Then someone else said that he "smelled a lawsuit coming." Unfortunately, the WWE would have no case to sue TNA. If the WWE was going to sue TNA, then they would have to sue every other promotion who has their own United States Championship.

Why they would have no case is because if they start suing a promotion for having a United States Championship, then they would have to sue a promotion for having a World Heavyweight Championship, World Tag Team Championship, etc.. The WWE was not the first promotion to have a World Heavyweight, World Tag Team, or United States Championship. The NWA had these titles before the WWE ever existed all the way back to Capitol Wrestling in 1952 and even then when Capitol Wrestling become World Wide Wrestling Federation, they were twice under the National Wrestling Alliance banner.

The only a successful lawsuit over titles came when the WWE sued then AWA Superstars of Wrestling when they tried to claim title lineage from the American Wrestling Association when Dale Gagne and Jonnie Stewart formed the promotion in 1996. I can see why they were successful in their lawsuit and that is because the WWE or then WWF bought everything to do with AWA when the promotion ceased operations in 1991. So Gagne and Stewart changed the promotion name to Wrestling Superstars Live. Even though they are not allowed to claim lineage they still display lineage for the AWA World Heavyweight, World Tag Team, World Women's, World Lightweight, and United States Championships going back between the 50s - 80s per respective title when they were established on their website. Gange and Stewart can't publicly claim lineage for any of the AWA Championships.

The problem I find some people having difficulty understanding is that the TNA is NOT and I repeat NOT claiming any of the WWE lineage from the WWE, WCW, or NWA. TNA is no infringing on anything the WWE has copyrighted or trademarked.

Now I searched the United States Copyright Office website and found that you can't trademark a title. So even if the WWE wanted to sue promotions for having United States Championships they couldn't. Look at the following document and you will see:

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf

I was engaged in a debate about this on Facebook with some person and I finally got that person to see the point I've been trying to make. Promotions all over the world have a lot of titles with the same name. So going through all the promotions to sue them would be pointless and ruin wrestling because of this whole "its mine" type mentality. If wrestling acted on that mentality to the nth degree, then the business would be in a worse state.

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