The upshot of all this is that the assorted Michigan sports programs that have copied the football helmet -- including, as other readers pointed out, the softball and baseball teams -- are not wearing a "representation of a representation," as Uni Watch originally observed, but rather a representation of a representation of a representation. And the rowing team has added yet another degree of separation by taking the insignia beyond the realm of headwear and putting it on their oars.

There's probably a lesson to be learned here about watering down an idea until it becomes meaningless (or at least about copyright law). For now, let's just be glad Janet Jackson didn't go to Michigan, or else there's probably one more place where where the helmet design would have shown up.

Paul Lukas used to wear a plastic Tony Esposito-style mask while playing floor hockey in 5th-grade gym class. Archives of his pre-Page 2 "Uni Watch" columns are available here and here. Got a uni-related question or comment for him, or want to be added to his mailing list? Contact him here.


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