Imitation is the sincerest form of something, something.


This weekend I inadvertently kicked off a bit of a shitshow with a FB post featuring this photo of a Reeb brand bicycle along with the following caption;

Reeb Cycles co-opting one of my sticker slogans for their own purposes is still dumb. The least they could have done was change the font.

In the wake of that, a fella from the company in question reached out first saying that ‘GFY’ couldn’t be copyrighted, that there were no similar design elements, and claiming a clear and vast difference between the stickers in that theirs say ‘you’, and mine say ‘yourself’.

After spending most of my Saturday trying to wrap my mind around those observations, I thought it wise to make an attempt at clearing up any misconceptions, so with today’s effort, and to the best of my ability, I’ll break down the whole story.

It was at some point in (if I recall correctly) 2012 or so, when the proprietor of a renowned bike shop in Boulder sent me an image of a Reeb sticker pack featuring a decal that looked and read a fair amount like one I had available in the store;

I promptly sent them an email saying that this was a sticker I’d begun making in 2007 for my Drunkingham imprint, (the first digital evidence for which I found occuring on July 18th, 2008), and that with all of the words available in the English language, if they could perhaps assemble an assortment that was a bit more specific to their brand, that that would be pretty cool.

With that, I received no response, and so I let sleeping dogs lie. I’m not a litigious sort, I don’t care for drama, and I didn’t presume it was a malicious affront, so getting Loudass on the case just seemed like overkill. In reality, I hoped they’d just stop using it on their own.

Every few months I would come across an image of some of Reeb’s branding which would kinda make the skin crawl up my neck, but again, I said nothing, because it seemed like more effort than it was worth.

Unrelated, (but kinda), along the way, another website who is fond of promoting beer and bikes began freely utilizing a few of my sticker slogans, at which point I kindly asked in no uncertain terms if he’d knock it off. His response? “we’re all in this together. It’s all good.

As hard to believe as it was that I had to, I explained that the phrasing and aesthetic is specific to this site, and how I make a living. Co-opting content creates confusion, which can ultimately adversely affect me financially. He grunted some response or another, and again, the grief was temporarily quelled.

However, with each exchange of this sort, the slow boil continued, until this weekend, when I just made mention in passing, and promptly came to find out that more than a small number of people assumed I was working with Reeb, or had had some hand in their company branding.

This prompted me to bring it to light and explain my position as concisely as possible.

More than just a cornerstone of this site, the intellectual property, and creative content is the very foundation on which it’s built. I pride myself on generating the good words in the form of posts, freelance work, as well as general product development. When another company decides they’ll dip into my tub, and take a drink of what I’m bathing in, that compromises the integrity of my ‘brand’. As silly as it might sound, this site isn’t just a fun hobby. This is how I generate my livelihood. This is how I pay my bills, and buy groceries, and very literally survive.

If someone sees another company with similar branding that they (intentionally, or not) lifted from me, this waters down what I’m trying to do, and makes me look bad, which I’m quite enough adept at all on my own.

And yes, I know the site is named after an Archer’s Of Loaf song. Beyond that, I freely recognize that Listen To Black Sabbath was a Big Brother shirt, (a company that hasn’t existed since 2004), I Guess I Was Punk Once was an UnAmerican Activities sticker (a company that as far as I know went dark in 1999.), ‘I’m deteriorating faster than I can lower my standards’ is a variation of an Anne Lamott quote, and ‘My 100% Notgivingashit Beats Your 8% Faster’ I stole from CD;

In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the look he gave me when I told him I stole his words.

These examples notwithstanding, I pride myself on the originality of my work, and I would hope that perspective clients wouldn’t make assumptions of my inability to generate a unique product based on their assumption (in this case) that I took Reeb’s branding, which is what inspired this kerfuffle to begin with.

In closing, and again, as I said to the person from Reeb who reached out to me, I don’t think this was a malicious act. I think someone just perhaps saw me as a little hobby site, or perhaps just came across a sticker somewhere and decided they liked it, and had no perspective on who or what was behind it. From that point, they took it as their own, which brings us pretty much to where we are now.

Time will tell if they’ll switch it up and come up with their own wordage, (I am available for hire), or if they’ll leave it be, and I’ll just remain generally grumpy every few months when one of their bikes crosses my radar;

I hope for the former.

Anything else would just be imitation vanilla.

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27 Responses to “Imitation is the sincerest form of something, something.”

  1. JP January 21, 2019 at 8:50 am #

    what bullshit. they didn’t even change the font. sort of a plastic company in any case.

  2. MG January 21, 2019 at 9:08 am #

    (TM)

  3. Shades January 21, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    I’m not litigious either, but come on! These guys are blatantly trying to get away with being lazy assholes at your expense. Send the cease and desist. And JP’s right, they didn’t even change the font. And so what if it says “you” and not “yourself”. Due to placement, I read it as yourself because I’ve been seeing that sticker of yours for so many years in so many places. Whoever said it was a shared mentality is right, but it’s a shared mentality over a phrase you coined. I remember the sticker packet you sent me back in 2007 when we first started communication on MySpace, and that was one of the stickers. I put them everywhere, including my chainstay because it fits so well there.

  4. Simon January 21, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    Kinda like Fat Tire ripping off the Bilenky junkyard race..

  5. Cary January 21, 2019 at 9:28 am #

    Here’s a Grey area. I use the catch phrase “everything can be fixed with a hammer” because I heard that and said that for fourty years. Also happens to be what I do what with the Carpentry and all. But until you put it out there in teeshirt form never saw in public print. I’ve done a bunch of tees with that phrase along with, “a hammer isn’t every tool but every tool is a hammer.” All construction related and part of our lexicon, or lepricon or whatever appropriate word I meant. Other renovator jobsite chatter I’ve repeated is “can’t see it from my house” fuck it, nail it” and my favorite, I cut this board three times and it’s still too short.”
    So where do we stand? Can I print and give out these Tees.

    • Stevil January 21, 2019 at 10:29 am #

      I forgot about that one. Yeah, that was some shit I used to hear my dad say growing up. Likewise, his cousin used to say “if we had some bacon we could have some bacon and eggs if we had some eggs”. I thought that was exclusive to him until I heard Dolly Parton say it last year.

      • Cary January 21, 2019 at 10:55 am #

        So funny🤣

  6. TJ January 21, 2019 at 9:53 am #

    More pics of CD please

  7. sidey January 21, 2019 at 9:53 am #

    Let’s not even mention the grammar of their phrasing.

  8. Eric January 21, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    They even used the same fucking font! Just a bag of cocks, that’s what they are.

    • MonkeyBoy January 21, 2019 at 11:11 am #

      The Legend of the REEB/Dales Stale Pale Fuckwit grows!

      If they want to rip someone off, maybe they can change the bike brand to All-Shity

  9. Natas January 21, 2019 at 11:28 am #

    Fucking hipsters are ruining the world. “Go Fuck You”?? That’s like making a beef stew and calling Manhattan Beefowder, stupidest thing I’ve heard…

  10. Bryant January 21, 2019 at 1:14 pm #

    They’re tying to make their Americuh better by any means available.

  11. Pet January 21, 2019 at 7:28 pm #

    I want to post something on that Singletracks article. Guess I will have to satisfy myself with never buying anything from Oscar Blues again or promoting Reeb at the shop I work at.

    • reverend dick January 22, 2019 at 7:39 am #

      Disappointing conduct from reeb. #partyfoul

  12. PR January 22, 2019 at 6:37 am #

    Reeb is Beer spelled backwards. How clever…
    So many “me too” bullshit brands in the bike industry these days. People think that a two year junior college degree and some online marketing coursework is all they need to start a bicycle brand.

  13. Largo January 22, 2019 at 7:34 am #

    “Go fuck you”?
    “Did he say make fuck?”

  14. Hewhocannotbenamed January 22, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    “Go Fuck You” sounds just like the korean store owner down the street stringing words together that just doesn’t make any goddamn sense in any language.

    Besides, I liked Reeb better when it was Spot. Even then, just maginally.

  15. Dirty Cyclist January 22, 2019 at 9:59 am #

    oh shit, i was slightly mad reading this article, then I read the comments. REEB is Oskar Blues? Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick…

  16. CW January 22, 2019 at 10:44 am #

    Fuck Reeb Cycles. Their instagram response to someone calling them out was that there was no intention because they had been printing the sticker since 2011 and hope it’s all square. I take that to mean they will do nothing. Steal artists work, reconfigure lazily, claim it as their own, act like it’s nothing. Can’t even acknowledge that they saw it somewhere in that exact font and maybe. Tough one… hard to figure whether it’s worth the legal effort costing time and money better spent making more cool shit.

  17. Caroline January 22, 2019 at 10:54 am #

    No brainer. Reeb is being disingenuous, uncreative, and go fuck you’ing with the wrong crowd. Flattering they think this sticker wordage is mutable vernacular, though.

  18. Loudass, Esq. January 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm #

    “Go fuck you”? By that logic, perhaps Dale should try “I Am Special” and then wait for the letter from Sinyard’s lawyers opining as to whether that is parody or some other fair use. In any case, your catch phrase indeed constitutes a trademark, one which you were the first to use in commerce by selling stickers bearing the same message. And since you have collaborated with other bike manufacturers to create AHTBM themed bikes, complete with your signature stickers, Reeb’s misappropriation of your slogan creates a likelihood of confusion among the consumer that you have collaborated with this bike as well. The legal term for this type of trademark infringement is “Honkey Bullshit.”

    • Marc January 23, 2019 at 8:18 am #

      Ok, got an out loud laugh with the last sentence there.

  19. eb January 22, 2019 at 7:29 pm #

    Go Fuck You?

    Sounds like the nihilist trying to “take what you have in your pockets and we call it even, yah?”

  20. Rick January 23, 2019 at 4:14 am #

    I see this as a huge backfire for them. First, to rip it off is lame. Keeping the font only compounds it. Also, “go fuck you” would be an embarrassment to have on my bike.

  21. dirtnaps January 25, 2019 at 9:59 am #

    No, Reeb, go fuck you!

  22. spokejunky January 29, 2019 at 8:26 am #

    Reeb Cycles. The Huawei of the USA.

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