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Tribune snips off ‘Games’ pin sales

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A new lapel pin poking fun at the Olympic bid scandal has been pulled off the market at least temporarily because a local newspaper is claiming it owns the phrase, "The Best Games Money Can Buy."

An attorney for The Salt Lake Tribune has asked that a local entrepreneur and the owner of a pair of Olympic memorabilia outlets stop selling the pin because it features one of four phrases registered with the state in March 1999 by the newspaper.

The other phrases are "Best Games $$ Can Buy," "2002: The Bucks Started Here," and "2002: The Bucks Stopped Here," according to documents from the attorney, Michael Patrick O'Brien.

Profits derived from the use of the phrases are donated to the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter, O'Brien said in a letter delivered with the documents Wednesday to pinmaker Jim Friedman and pin seller Mell Bailey.

"The Tribune demands that you account for all profits derived from the sale of pins or other products using the phrases and contribute such profits, either directly or through The Tribune, to the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter," O'Brien said in his letter.

O'Brien said Thursday that the Tribune has already produced pins "in the shape of a mini-newspaper" featuring the phrases but did not know if they were for sale yet.

"The Tribune is not making any money off it. They're doing it for a charity," O'Brien told the Deseret News. "The bottom line is the Tribune is doing this for a good cause."

But the development director of the Salt Lake YWCA said she was unaware of any such effort. "How bizarre," said Carrie Romano. "I can't imagine that would be going on unless we knew about it."

Friedman, the local entrepreneur who came up with the idea for the pin, was not available for comment Thursday. He told the Deseret News last week he expected to hear from lawyers for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

So did Bailey, the owner of the Spirit of the Games kiosk in Fashion Place Mall in Murray and the store of the same name in the ZCMI Mall in downtown Salt Lake City. "When I read the letter and saw it was from the Tribune, it was very strange for me," she said.

Especially since she believes the phrase in question "is derogatory against the Olympics." Bailey said she was also surprised that a newspaper would be competing to sell merchandise. "I guess we just beat them to it," she said.

Bailey said she won't sell the pins until she can speak with her attorney.

The pins feature caricatures of five people identified by only their first names, although they're obviously supposed to be former bid leader Tom Welch, former Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, former bid Chairman Frank Joklik and Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Their images appear in five coinlike circles arranged like the five Olympic rings, which are owned in this country by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee, of course, has the right to use the rings and along with the USOC zealously protects that and other Olympic images.

E-MAIL: lisa@desnews.com