Student body presidential candidate Brandon Faza and running mate J.P. Murphy have been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with their campaign’s logo.
“There’s no case,” Election Rules Committee Chairman Andrew Read said.
The logo used by Faza and Murphy is registered in the state of Kentucky but not nationally, so the pair is free to use the logo. The Faza and Murphy ticket also took the extra precaution of contacting the general manager of the Bull Golf Club, Scott Porter, to apologize and ask permission to continue using the logo.
“When we found out about (the copyright), we contacted Scott Porter,” Murphy said. “He had no problem with us using the logo. He actually gave us usage rights as long as we are not selling the logo.”
When made aware of the use, Porter was uninterested in the circumstances as long as Faza and Murphy used the logo properly. Porter did not want the pair to profit from using the logo or use it in a malicious manner.
“If someone is using (the logo) in a derogatory way or they are profiting from it, I will sue,” Porter said. “The impact (the logo) has on the elections at USF does not matter to me.”
After researching the trademark on the logo in Kentucky, Read came to the same conclusion as Faza and Murphy and will not bring any charges. Read also said that Faza and Murphy told him they will provide written proof of permission to continue using the logo.
When asked if Faza and Murphy’s situation was similar to student body presidential and vice presidential hopefuls Mike Mincberg and Christi Clement’s situation, Read said action was taken against their campaign because it was a university issue.
“I am a university official; they were using a university logo. As an employee of the university I have the obligation to protect the university logo,” Read said. “I do not work for the golf course (so it is not) my obligation to (protect) their logo, and there is no case there anyway since it is only registered in the state of Kentucky.”
Faza and Murphy said they were now a little more sympathetic toward the plight of Mincberg and Clements, but Murphy said that comparing the two cases was like comparing “apples and oranges.”
“I think a large part of the Mike and Christi issue is non-compliance and defiance of the ERC and Student Government,” Murphy said.
“If we had been forced to take the logo down, of course we would have complied, but we feel that our campaign is much more than just a logo,” Faza said. “It’s about the issues; it’s about the things we want to do for this school.”
Although Mincberg and Clements were brought up on charges of copyright infringement, Mincberg said that the SG logo is not copyrighted and that Read not pursuing the case creates a double standard.
“I just see a lack of consistency,” Mincberg said. “We got punished for supposedly infringing on a mark that wasn’t copyrighted either. I am just curious to see why we would get punished and why they wouldn’t.”
Read disagrees. He said that the SG logo is indeed protected under the same trademark as the new athletic logo until a specific trademark can be procured.
Confident that he and Clements will be reinstated into the race by the end of the week, Mincberg continues to sympathize with Faza and Murphy.
“I don’t think they did anything wrong ethically, I don’t think we did anything wrong ethically; like I said before, I think this whole thing is ridiculous,” Mincberg said.