Try your best to keep up here.
A rumor without Kanye West is only half as fun. On Wednesday, the web was buzzing with news that West launched a website called Whodatbiz.com as part of his tech startup Donda. Whodat.biz was supposed to be "the Facebook of websites" (come on, does that even make sense?) and essentially gives users the ability to find out about the real people behind every website out there.
Upon hearing this news, New Orleans Saints fans, and anyone who pays attention to trademark lawsuits, might have been thinking the same thing. Can West use the "Who Dat?" phrase for his site? The Saints and the NFL are currently involved in a number of trademark lawsuits over this very issue. In January of this year, Sal and Steve Monistere of Who Dat?, Inc. reached a settlement with the NFL to allow merchandise with the catch phrase to be co-branded by both parties. After the Saints' Super Bowl win, New Orleans vendors went on a "Who Dat?" spree, inciting the NFL to send cease and desist letters faster than a tourist can buy a tacky T-shirt on Canal St.
But Who Dat Nation (translation: local residents plus the Louisiana congressional delegation) wouldn't stand for that, saying the phrase belongs to the community. The NFL backed down. But Who Dat? Inc. had sent similar letters to other vendors. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, they have the claim to fame of registering Who Dat! and Who Dat? with the Louisiana Secretary of State in the 1980s. The trademarks expired in 1993 and were renewed in 2009.
Ultimately, the majority of businesses involved in the case seem to agree that no one entity should own the rights to a phrase that has been used in high school chants since the 1970s. But with a few "Who Dat?" battles still unresolved, one might envision a legal mess for West. But fear not. Gizmodo confirmed yesterday that the site is a fake, and has nothing to do with West's Donda Media. And they raise a fair point. West didn't send one tweet about about the site, and he isn't one to miss a single chance at self-promotion.
Well, here's to one less celebrity lawsuit to keep us all up at night.
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