Sunday, December 9, 2012


 Not so long ago, I started a group on IOUMA (International Union of Mail Artists) as a tribute and offshoot of the fantastic and very real Museum of Bad Art  ---(soooo worth checking out you will get hours of amusement and oddly, inspiration from the art). I was informed that this name was trademarked and therefore I would not be able to use it. This is the letter from MOBA that I received. I am highly flattered that someone is protesting something  I have done. The name was instantly changed. But this letter brings up a good point. As if it isn't complicated enough to determine what makes art art, what qualifies something to be BAD art? 

Yes, we have a problem. A few days ago I learned that IOUMA was using our name “ Museum Of Bad Art ”. I registered on the IOUMA site and included a note in my registration that protested your use of our name. 
I’m pleased that you appreciate MOBA.  Since 1996 we have a used and trademarked “ Museum Of Bad Art ” for our MOBA website, three brick-and-mortar galleries, two books, mobile app, newsletter, Facebook following, and many special events, creating a world-wide presence. I must insist that you not use our name for your group. 
In addition to the trademark violation, your criteria are so different from ours that I would not want anyone to conflate the two. You challenge artists to produce “bad art”. We maintain that quality bad art cannot be deliberately created. In our view, worthy pieces must first be art. That means, to us, that they must be sincere efforts. 
I am not challenging the legitimacy of your group nor your art challenge. It sounds interesting and worthwhile and I wish you success. But it cannot carry the name “ Museum Of Bad Art .”
Yours in bad art,


Rebecca said...

Very funny and also irritates me when people fight to own things like this.

Taidgh Lynch said...

I like the way they went about it Diane! Sarcasm implied. I was apart of the original group. I think Mr MOBA was missing the point as to the purpose of the group and the name. Joining IUOMA specifically to address the situation was amusing as was the seriousness of the letter. If anything you have given the MOBA greater publicity and promotion with links to their site and with members like myself checking out their images, history and shop. They should be thanking you. While I get that it is their lively hood I think some people just need to chill out.

I had a similar situation, a few years back, with my local camera club unknowingly naming the club the same as a registered business. We received quite a few letters threatening legal action. So we had to change it, but we were upset not in having to change it but in the way in which we were accused of robbing someone's lively hood and how much of a threat we had unintentionally become.

Keep up your Bad Mail Art journey. And maybe it would be wise if you trademarked your own name too :P

Diane Keys said...

We should probably ALl trademark our names, and any other idea we have ever had. You think of all the symbols that are now 'owned' in the world. I really thought it was just an innocuous little group, but I guess it gives us validation. I would think they would be flattered too, but no. Taidgh, I think I might hijack your name so let me know if you protest this action:)

Taidgh Lynch said...

I have to be careful what I say on here lest the MOBA police catch me. I have a few mail art ideas. Watch your postbox you should be getting something from me soon. Oh, yes even doodles are trademarked take a look at Zentangles.

Diane Keys said...

Can't wait to get mail from you--send a leprochaun while you're at it because I know they're real. would never have guessed the pronunciation of you name. I was saying it very German. tm