Sigh!!! Warner Bros. Had To Have A Tasmanian Football Team Explain Where Its Taz Character Came From

Thankyou Above the Law for pointing out a level of corporate stupidity that is almost impossible to comprehend


Tasmanian devilThe Devil, as they say, is in the details. It’s a lesson that Warner Bros. apparently just recently had to learn after it poked the Australian Football League over its latest addition to the league, from the isle of Tasmania. You have probably already guessed where this is going.

The AFL announced recently that the newest team entering the league would be the Tasmanian Devils. The response to the announcement was immediately positive, gobbling up forty thousand memberships in the hours after the announcement was made. There actually used to be a basketball club going by the “Devils” that existed previously, which is where Warner Bros. comes in after that team folded.

The National Basketball League (NBL) featured the Hobart Devils from 1983-1986 and the Hobart Tassie Devils from 1987–1995, with the Hobart Devils name returning for the franchise’s final season in 1996.

When the club folded, Warner Brothers quickly trademarked the character and registered the name Tasmanian Devil in 1997.  When the NBL announced that Tasmania would be returning to the league in the 2021/22 season, the name was unavailable because a request for the name ‘Tassie Devils’ to be trademarked had been filed by the AFL with the Federal Government.

That application has been sitting in limbo since 2019 with a final determination to be made by July 17 this year. 

And Hobart eventually gave up and decided to become the “Jackjumpers.” And with WB scooping up the trademark for all kinds of market segments, including apparel and the like, the company began poking at the AFL over its chosen name. The branding looks nothing like the famous Warner Bros. character. Neither do the color schemes call back to that character. This all comes down to the name of the club and the trademark Warner holds for the character.

And much of this fight apparently centered on the fact that the Warner side of things didn’t realize that a Tasmanian Devil is an actual, real-life animal that existed on the island.

Devils chairman Grant O’Brien said it became clear during negotiations that executives from the company did not realise the character was based on the Apple Isle’s famous carnivorous marsupial.

‘I think there was, for a period of time, a lack of understanding that there was actually an animal called the Tasmanian devil. Once that was understood, things got a little easier,’ O’Brien said. ‘But anything to do with copyrights, trademarks, those sorts of things … is tricky.  But we got great co-operation from Warner Bros, and it’s a name we wanted to fight for, because it’s ours, it’s the sort of animal character that we want our club to stand for.’

So… yeah. I can’t quite determine if this is completely settled, but it sure sounds like everyone thinks the team is going to keep its name once it was explained to WB that its character was based on a piece of important cultural and natural history on the island. The fact that this had to be explained, however, is a source of both amusement and aggravation.

Because at the end of the day, any calories spent as a result of an American company unknowingly appropriating and then attempting to control a piece of someone else’s culture where there was zero chance of any confusion over source or affiliation is plainly annoying.

Warner Bros. Had To Have A Tasmanian Football Team Explain Where Its Taz Character Came From