"Summer Of Love" is now a trademark
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 22 May 97 15:17:05 -0700
Subject: "Summer Of Love" is now a trademark
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Excerpted-from: an article by RICHARD COLE
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - If you're going to San Francisco for the 30th
anniversary of the Summer of Love, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
- but also bring your lawyer.
"Summer of Love" is now a registered trademark.
The copyrighting of a name that symbolized the very rejection of
commercial values suggests that the times, they are a changin' - oops, that
tune is licensed to a Canadian bank.
Well then, it shows that since 1967, there's been a Revolution - no
wait, that's a Nike ad song.
Oh well, they'll be celebrating anyway as Haight-Ashbury and the
hippies, along with their children and grandchildren, mark three decades of
Flower Power (assuming, of course, the rights to "Flower Power" aren't held
by some rose importer.)
The painful dispute over rights to the name "Summer of Love" pits two
'60s psychedelic music icons against each other - the late Bill Graham's
organization and Chet Helms. It also pits the idealism of the '60s against
the American capitalist spirit.
"We live in a culture in which everything that starts out original turns
into a theme park," said Gitlin, a New York University professor and author
of "The Sixties - Years of Hope, Days of Rage." "It was a mistake to think
that the counterculture or the free culture or whatever people thought it
was could be kept sacrosanct."
That, actually, was Gitlin's second reaction to hearing the Summer of
Love had been copyrighted. His first was the same as that of almost everyone
else with fond memories of the San Francisco's 1967 summer: "Oh, no. Don't
tell me that," Gitlin groaned.
The rights to Summer of Love were snapped up by Bill Graham Presents,
the rock promoters. Graham filled up the Fillmore Auditorium in the '60s
with acts like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream, Jefferson
Airplane and the Grateful Dead.
Graham was killed in a 1991 helicopter accident, but his company is
still the San Francisco Bay area's dominant concert promoter.
His successors are unapologetic about copyrighting the spirit of the
'60s. They had no choice, said Jerry Pompili, vice president of operations.
They wanted to use the name for a block party, and found Summer of Love
had been copyrighted years ago, though the rights had lapsed.
"It was kind of like a Pandora's box situation," Pompili said. "Once
you open up the box, it's out there. What if some other town which doesn't
really have a proprietary interest gets ahold of it?"
So BGP copyrighted "Summer of Love" to keep it in San Francisco, Pompili
One of the first people to run afoul of the copyright was Helms, who
served on the informal council in 1967 that he said coined the term Summer
of Love. Helms also put on concerts in the era, but his tended to be free
parties in the park.
"Chet and Bill were like the antithesis of each other at the time,"
Pompili said. "Bill was the commercial promoter, Chet was the groovy guy -
he was part of the times."
The Summer of Love, Helms said, evolved out of the first great "Be In"
in Golden Gate Park at the end of 1966, not far from Haight-Ashbury. Allen
Ginsberg read poetry. Timothy Leary encouraged tens of thousands to turn
on, tune in and drop out.
The psychedelic '60s had begun.
"After the human be-in, we knew that by summer, Haight-Ashbury would be
inundated with hundreds of thousands of kids," Helms said.
Alternative institutions sprang up. The Free Clinic treated drug
overdoses and venereal disease. The Diggers organized the free store for
recycling clothes and other items - "Take what you need, don't empty out
the store," was the very '60s motto.
Rock groups like Santana formed around conga drummers on the benches in
Golden Gate Park. Police generally ignored the marijuana smoke that wafted
through Haight-Ashbury's streets.
It was the Summer of Love.
One of its chroniclers was Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld, better known to
underground newspaper readers of that era as "Dr. Hippocrates," or simply
"Dr. Hip." He dispensed medical advice that would have made the mothers of
his readers cringe.
Schoenfeld bristled at the thought someone could copyright that summer.
"Some things should be exempt from commercialization," he grumbled.
In the spirit of the '60s, Bill Graham Presents and Helms seem to have
worked out an accommodation. Pompili has offered to license Summer of Love
to Helms for an October concert in Golden Gate Park for a fee of $1.
"And I'll give him the dollar," Pompili said. In fact, for a nominal
fee, the company will grant a license to anyone in the Bay Area who has
traditionally used the name, he said.
(c) Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.
© 1997 Peter Langston