Internet pop star Ali Spagnola spent 3 years and $30,000 fighting for the right of people to party, or at least to play one particular party drinking game, and she paid for it all out of her own pocket! About 3 years ago, a guy named Steve Roose applied for and received a trademark on the term “Power Hour,” something that should never, ever have happened. (For those of you who don’t know, which is probably a lot of us outside the United States, a Power Hour is a drinking game where you drink 60 shots of beer in 60 minutes, usually to music.)
The problem with Roose’s trademark was that was too general, too descriptive a term. He trademarked it for use with his own product, a DVD game. As soon as he won the trademark though, he started going after anyone who was using it in even vaguely similar contexts, such as the power hour drinking games.
Ali Spagnola was one such person; she has a Power Hour drinking game album/USB drive. He had the album removed from Amazon, he had all kinds of videos (of Spagnola’s, and other people’s as well) removed from YouTube, and was basically acting in much the same way that patent trolls act using his trademark.
Spagnola decided that she couldn’t stand by and let this guy get away with it, so she took it upon herself to fight him, and just in the last few days, the courts finally ruled in her favor. Power Hour is no longer trademarked, and anyone can use the term for any purpose without fear of interference from Roose or anyone else.
She’s now left $30,000 poorer but she’s free to sell her album and tour, and to that end she’s started a Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour Indiegogo campaign. As the name suggests, with the $40,000 she’s seeking, she hopes to tour the States (and beyond, if people kick in enough) and generally create the biggest, widest party she can to celebrate her victory and show people that they can fight these things.
Congratulations, Ali Spagnola, and thank you! Of course the best way to thank her is to help fund her campaign. I’ve already done so.