Another day, another fleck of entertainment law gold dust. Behold Gene Simmons, who, it has emerged, filed a lawsuit last Friday, June 9 in an attempt to trademark the devil horns hand thing that rock fans like to do. He is trying to trademark this:
Gene Simmons holds that he invented the devil horns, the rock hand, the \m/, and popularized it during Kiss' 1974 Hotter than Hell tour. Obviously he probably did not, because there is evidence of it being used before this (there are traces of it being used to ward off the evil eye in Mediterranean cultures, says Wikipedia; it's known as the Karana Mudra in some parts of India, where it was used by the Gautama Buddha; John Lennon does it on the front of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine" single in 1966, for example). But still, Gene is gunning to trademark it for "entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist".
Not entirely sure how this would work. If you ever do the devil horns rock hand \m/ thing from now on do you have to pay Gene Simmons a princely sum? It … it sounds as though every live performer would be essentially either banned from doing it, or made to pay a fee, or somehow shout out the trademark? Does Apple have to issue Gene Simmons a public apology for making an emoji of the devil horns hand thing? Will it now be the Gene Simmons Sign of the Horns™? Because if so, I am personally unsure how he is going to enforce his ownership of a gesture that literally anyone can do make their hands if they so compelled by the power of rawk. If he does manage to pull this off, it would be a finesse for the ages.
I also have another question: can you imagine being Gene Simmons? You are Gene Simmons from Kiss, and you are a world famous rockstar, and you are impossibly rich. And yet the thing that keeps you up at night, tossing and turning on your really high quality memory-foam mattress, sweating on your goose-feather pillows, is this weird thing you did with your hands on tour one time?
Trademarking, either way, seems extremely unpunk. Kiss weren't a punk band by any stretch of the imagination, but go on Gene, let devil horns be free. Consider them your gift to the world. In the meantime, everyone else please throw those signs of the horns up before doing so might catch you a court case.
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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)