Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Co. has been forced to scrap signs that feature the silhouettes of explorers Lewis and Clark. Following protests from the National Park Service, which holds the copyright to the image Boulevard planned to use, the company agreed to pull about $15,000 worth of metal signs bearing the image. They were ready to be shipped to accounts in several Midwestern states.
“Everybody who had seen our graphic had been so excited,” Bob Sullivan, a Boulevard Brewing vice president, told the Kansas City Star. “But Boulevard is not going to partake in any kind of use that is inappropriate or unauthorized.”
The Boulevard advertising slightly altered a well known image that decorates highways of states that the explorers visited. Rather than pointing a finger west, one of the explorers was holding a bottle of Boulevard Pale Ale.
The sign said: “To those who make maps, not follow them” and “Boulevard toasts the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition.”
According to the Star, the advertising agency behind the campaign, CHRW of Kansas City, thought it had performed due diligence by purchasing $3,000 worth of images from Corbis, the photo archive. Among the images was one of those Lewis and Clark road signs.
Richard Williams of the National Park Service in Omaha, Neb., disagreed. “Just because somebody purchased the image from a Web page doesn’t mean they own the image,” he said. The logo is a federal insignia, protected by copyright law and federal statute. Any commercial representation of it would suggest federal government endorsement of a product, Williams said.
CHRW is developing a new Lewis and Clark likeness for the Boulevard campaign. And Boulevard will honor its pledge to offer financial support to this area’s Lewis and Clark bicentennial observance in July.