Steve Austin X 2

Have the people who own the rights to the old “Six Million Dollar Man” televsion show taken Stone Cold Steve Austin to court for copyright infringement? Surely there must be a law against connecting the pristine image of Lee Majors to that of a beer-swilling, body-slamming, four-by-four driving buffoon.
(Wait a minute that sounds like the premise of “The Fall Guy” and – unfortunatley – there was no law against that.)

Nonetheless, if such a case did go to court would the producers have a (bionic) leg to stand on?

Well, in an unrelated case, former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sued third year Miami Dolphion running back Karin Abdul-Jabbar for the use of his name. Not sure about the settlement, but the football player’s jersey now only says “ABDUL” on it as part of the deal.

Yer pal,

Did the original jersey have room for “Abdul-Jabbar”?

I remember seeing some gigantic Polish names on jerseys in the past - anyone have any ideas on what was the longest ever displayed on an NFL uniform?

Yes. Until this year, his jersey read “ABDUL-JABBAR” in its entirety.

I do not think they would have much to stand on just mby the use of Steve Austin. The name is not that much of an association. Now if the WWF called him The million dollar man Steve Austin or something like that there would likely be a problem.

If you could never reuse a characters name, then you would run out of normal names and everybody would have to have strange names.


From what I know of the biz (and, of course, I mean ‘show biz’) actors can file their name as their personal trademark with the Actors’ Guild and no other actor may use that same name (which is why some actors include their middle initial becuase their name was already taken by someone in the Guild). However, if you want to spurn the Guild (and possibly your career for doing so), nothing’s to stop you from using the same name.

Now, Steve Austin of the $6M Man fame is not the actor’s name and it is doubtful that Steve Austin the pro wrestler is in the Actor’s Guild (but, given a few more TV cameos and a movie deal, that might change).

So, we turn to general law. Invented characters (such as Steve Austin, the $6M Man) can not only be trademarked but copyrighted. No one can use that character for whatever reason. And if the name of the character is purposely trademarked (like ‘Superman’), no one can use that name. It’s doubtful that an ordinary name like ‘Steve Austin’ was trademarked (if it even could). The creators of the character would rely on copyright law to prevent rip-offs.

Stone Cold Steve Austin uses the phrase ‘Stone Cold’ to distinguish himself from the $6M Man character… so, it’s OK.


Stone Cold may have Colonel Steve on the legal mats, but I bet the former astronaut could give his namesake six million dollars worth of butt kicking.

No, Stone Cold could put the “Stunner” on the other Steve and the bionic eye would pop out and he would short circuit and he would be down for the count.


*The guy who lives upstairs
Is an actor, so they say, or maybe worse
They say he changed his name
'Cause someone with the same name made it first . . .

You live beneath Michael J. Fox? Or Stewart Grainger?

If anybody was going to sue, it would be Martin Caidin, the author of the original Steve Austin books.

Actually, all professional wrestlers are members of the Actor’s Guild or some such group. They are “sports entertainers,” after all.

Stone Cold Steve Austin has been in two episodes of “Nash Bridges” (a major role which he reprised for a second episode) and with the UPN “Smackdown,” you can bet there will be cameo appearances on many of that network’s shows. But Stone Cold is an actor, and THAT’S the bottom line.

“May your song always be sung.”

It seems to me there are two Vanessa Williams. The actress and the former Miss America. Granted the latter doesn’t act much but she has.

Markxxx, you do know those are the same person, right? Vanessa Williams, singer/actress, is a former Miss America. The one who was stripped of her crown because of the naked pics.

pldennison: Markxxx, you do know those are the same person, right? Vanessa Williams, singer/actress, is a former Miss America. The one who was stripped of her crown because of the naked pics.

Bzzzz! Wrong!

Vanessa Willaims is an actress. She played Rhonda on “Melrose Place” place the first couple of years before it turned into a soap opera.

Vanessa L. Williams is the former Ms. America that was stripped of her crown. She uses her middle initial (for Lynn) to distinguish herself from the former Ms. Williams, although V.L. Williams was in movies/TV before V. (nmi) Williams.

Also confusing the issue is that both are of African descent (i.e., black) and about the same age (VLW:3/18/63 VW:5/12/63).


There are two actresses named Vanessa Williams.

The former Miss America officially goes by Vanessa L. Williams.


Save water drink beer!

AWB, you beat me to it. I should have reloaded befor posting.


Save water drink beer!

Addendum from The Internet Movie Database:

The two Vanessa deal is interesting but it’s an argument (like the two Karim’s) that’s based on two actual people with similar names.

Bionic Steve Austin is obviously a fictional character and it might be argued that Stone Cold is, as well. According to a Rolling Stone (Issue 802/803) profile, the pro wrestler was born Steve Anderson (in Austin, Texas) but raised by a guy named Williams (apparently he signs his checks that way). He also wresteld under the name Stunning Steve Austin and the Ice Man. The article says that the Steve Austin name was given to him by a promoter, the wrestler didn’t “want to be called Steve Austin…because of the Six Million Dollar Man” but was unable to come up with a better moniker. The rest is history.

Therefore, Steve Austin is the name of the wrestler’s character or persona just like Steve Austin is the name of a character in books and a TV series. Name recognition was part of the decision to choose that particular appellation and whoever owns the rights to all things bionic could have a right to be ticked off.

For all we know there could be an Obnoxious Oscar Goldman or Jammin’ Jaime Summers waiting in the wings. When will the insanity end?

Just to add to the above…Steve Austin was also known as “Superstar” Steve Austin during his six week stint in ECW, and was called The Ringmaster when he first appeared in the WWF. Apparently realizing this name royally sucked, Austin later convinced Vince McMahon to give him the Stone Cold gimmick. This gimmick helped save the WWF from bankruptcy in 1997, and was one of the instrumental factors in turning the tide against the competition.