Mexico wants royalties from Starbucks

Doesn’t rise to the level of GD I think, but I’d still like to hear the arguments.

Mexican govt: Starbucks owes us

Starbucks used some images that are thousands of years old on a line of cups and mugs and now Mexico is claiming IP on the images.

I just don’t see it myself. It would be like the egyptions claiming IP on the pyramid and wall art in the tombs.

The article doesn’t say, but I suspect that Mexico isn’t claiming IP on the ancient art itself, but on the actual photograph picture created by its museums of that art, which Starbucks (or their supplier) presumably cut and pasted onto their mugs. The museums then use the royalties to help fund themselves. At least, that’s been the case in similar cases I’ve heard of.

Not sure how I feel about it, on the one hand, funding for preservation of artifacts is a good thing, and getting good pictures of the items is probably non-trivial in at least some cases. On the other hand, one would think countries like Mexico would want to encourage images of its cultural heritage, since it promotes tourism, culture, etc.

There’s actually precedent for this, even in the United States. Look up the legal protection that the US Olympic Committee enjoys over the commercial utilization of the word “Olympic,” for an easy example.

I’m guessing that these were Starbucks’ cups in Mexico, though, right? I can’t see the US interfering in Canada, for example, over the commercial use of “Olympic.”

Where is the image in question? I’m just seeing the standard cup logo in the article.

The cup in the article seems to be one of their generic logos. The alleged violations are about using images of the Aztec calendar stone and of the moon pyramid.

It looks like Starbucks is willing to pay. I suspect that is simply avoiding a potential PR debacle. I don’t know all the details of course, but I have concerns about the precedent that they’ve set.