Kent State students received an email Monday warning them of trademark laws when using the Kent State logo.
While the Internet may feel like a magical, consequence-free land, trademark laws and copyright laws do exist — and students need to be aware of that. Be careful with what you’re putting on the Internet. Know what’s within your rights and what isn’t.
But we don’t need to tell you that. You’ve heard it a hundred times before.
The problem we see with the warning is that it’s taking a joke too seriously.
We don’t feel the places we’ve seen the logo used are particularly harmful to the university’s reputation. The social media accounts most likely in question are those students use to joke around about their crushes, problems, confessions and more. Most of the accounts clarify in their profile that they’re not affiliated with the university. They’re common at universities across the country and aren’t, in our opinion, jeopardizing the university’s traditions, strengths and values.
Instead, they unify and entertain the student body. Few students and prospective students would change their opinion of the university based on a social media account. We understand memes and Internet humor. Those who would be offended aren’t the audience on Twitter.
Furthermore, what good is it to take down a logo when the account is still clearly monitored and viewed by Kent State students? If the university is concerned about associating itself with these accounts, changing the small profile picture seems to be trivial.
That being said, the university is obviously within its rights to ask students to refrain from using their trademarked logo. Students would be wise to follow these instructions, but please don’t stop giving us the great Internet laughs.