Royal Canadian Legion screws up big-time

It’s hard to tell who is the worst here, the RCL for threatening legal action against a group of veterans who formed a motorcycle club and include a small poppy in their logo, or the Toronto Sun for taking down a picture of the logo included with the article below for illustrative purposes.

I had to look closely at the logo to find the poppy when the photo was still up earlier today.  It is on the helmet of a soldier kneeling in remembrance, a scene taking up less than a quarter of the logo, and one might not even see the poppy unless prompted to look.

Veteran car drivers can have a poppy added to their license plates, and that is designed to be clearly visible.  I fail to see the difference here, and it is disturbing that the Legion would come up with such a petty and malicious act so close to Remembrance Day.

I am an ‘ordinary’ member of Legion Branch 43 in Oshawa, and I am utterly appalled.

You can view the Canadian Veteran Freedom Riders logo at their website here.

(Note: The Toronto Sun re-instated the photo sometime between publication of this post and 10:00am the following day.)

Jeff Goodall.

Legion tells biker vets: No poppy for you

Toronto Sun
Scott Taylor: Oct. 26th, 2011

OTTAWA – The iconic poem In Flanders Fields immortalized the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for Canadian soldiers since the First World War.

But it’s also a registered trademark, owned and so closely guarded by the Royal Canadian Legion that a motorcycle club of veterans isn’t allowed to include a small one in its own logo without lawyers threatening legal action.

Capt. Michael Blow, president of the Canadian Veteran Freedom Riders (CVFR), who devoted 35 years of his life to the military, has one in his club’s crest. It’s a little difficult to see, but it’s there.

And the Legion doesn’t like that one bit.

They had a law firm send a letter to Blow insisting he and his crew of more than 70 riders and veterans immediately remove the image of the poppy from their logo.

The letter says, in part:

“If we do not have a satisfactory reply within two weeks of the date of this letter, we shall recommend to the Legion that it commence immediate legal proceedings.”

The CVFR sometimes raises funds for vets who need help. Blow thought they were all on the same side.

“I honestly don’t know how an organization that continually spouts off about how they respect vets can legally hold a copyright on a symbol of remembrance,” he said. “I wear the patch for support and honourary respect of veterans.”

The poppy is certainly not the focal point of the crest, and he said it’s modelled after the British version, but it’s the principle that irks him the most.

“For the Legion to turn around and threaten me with litigation because I’m using the poppy is not morally right,” he said.

Legion secretary Bill Maxwell agreed it might not sound fair, but there’s a reason for the trademark.

“Normally, for personal or private logos, we don’t authorize use of the poppy. The poppy trademark was registered in 1948 to ensure that it would never be used for commercial or personal gain or used inappropriately.”

He added the image on any logo in the country would most probably not be approved for that reason.

“That’s because it’s not being used as a symbol of remembrance, but as part of a logo.”

Blow scoffed at that.

“Remembrance is the only reason I’m using it,” he said.

See original here.

Excellent further information on the Canadian Veterans Freedom Riders here  

I also found this  web-page interesting – see who is included in the list of supporting organisations… 

For ‘Smokey” Blow’s biography, see here.  Scroll down, he is at the bottom of the page.

See “Royal Canadian Legion: Poppy issue follow-up” (November 3rd, 2011) here