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"HIP HOP" now a trademarked and licensed term

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by Davey D


It looks like the Hip Hop community now faces its biggest challenge.

Forget police task forces or discriminating night club owners, folks

will now have to gear up to do some serious battle with a Los Angeles

businessman named Richard Gonahangya and his company America Media

Operative Inc. For those who don't know AMO Inc is a little known

company that specializes in lobbying Congress and advising government

officials on media policy. They yield a lot of influence over the FCC

and other agencies that determine policy. The word around town is

'what they say goes'.


Gonahangya a staunch conservative, held a small press conference in

Compton, Ca yesterday to announce that his company AMO Inc had

recently trademarked and brought the rights to the word/phrase 'Hip

Hop'. As a result they will soon start charging a licensing fee for

anyone who wishes to use the word in a commercial/ for profit project.


Taking advantage of a provision in the recently amended Millennium

Copyright Act of 2001, Gonahangya explained that he and his company

have all the legal ammunition and clearance to own the rights to the

phrase 'Hip Hop'. He noted that the Hip Hop industry has generated

over 20 billion dollars last year in the United States alone. The

phrase Hip Hop is now a powerful marketing tool and his company is

posed to profit handsomely in 2003 from its 'proper' usage. The new

licensing fee is estimated to net AMO Inc a whooping 5-8 billion

dollars a year.


"Any business including record labels, videos, radio stations or

television shows that use the phrase 'Hip Hop' in the title or

marketing body of their work will have to pay AMO Inc a licensing

fee", Gonahangya told reporters. 'We are not attempting to stifle

free speech or muzzle popular culture.. we have no legal grounds from

preventing anyone who wishes to use the word in everyday speech,

however if you are using the word in a manner that associates you with

a salable product, then we fully intend to collect our fee".


Gonahangya went on to explain that what he is doing is not unusual.

There are many popular words that are used in everyday conversations

that are trademarked and cannot be used in commercial ventures without

permission. 'The word 'Xerox' is often used interchangeably with

'copy'. The word 'Vaseline' is used interchangeably with lotion or

grease. he also explained that the word Rock-N-Roll is trademarked by

a major label record executive who at the time could not charge a

licensing fee.


Gonahangya laid out his company's strategy for 2003. He explained

that AMO Inc is giving record labels and performers a one month grace

period to get their business affairs in order. Starting in May

letters will be sent out to anyone who is using the term 'Hip Hop'

explaining that the word is now trademarked and that if they wish to

continue to use it in the body of their work, they will have to

register with his company and be assessed a licensing fee. Letters

have already been sent to several Hip Hop internet websites with more

to come. He estimated the average fee will be anywhere from 2-5

thousand dollars plus residual fees per project. Permission to use

the word will be on a case by case basis. In addition any future

projects released using the term ' Hip Hop' will have to have the 'TM'

symbol next to the word.


When asked if he felt AMO Inc was being exploitative and attempting to

blackmail a viable popular culture, Gonahangya bluntly stated; 'This

is not about culture. This is about business... The laws have been

set up for anyone and everyone to use. Our company took advantage of

what was on the books for almost a year and that what we are doing is

now perfectly legal... Hip Hop is a big multi-billion dollar a year

business. I was surprised that a big executive like Russell Simmons

or Clive Davis or even business savy rappers like Jay-Z, P-Diddy or

Eminem never trademarked the phrase. Everyone in America knows that

you don't do business without protecting your assets. It's just plain

stupid not to leave yourself this wide open.. If the Hip Hop

community is that dumb when it comes to business then too bad. Don't

make me out to be the bad guy".


When asked if he intends to share any of the profits from licensing

the word 'Hip Hop' with any of Hip Hop's pioneers including Lovebug

Starski who first coined the phrase back in the lates 70s or Afrika

Bambaataa who popularized and spread the word, Gonahangya laughed. 'I

never heard of a Mr Starski and as for sharing profits with people

from Africa..No my people are originally from Denmark, Norway.


When another reporter told Gonahangya that Afrika Bambaataa was

someone's name, Gonahangya shrugged it off and said he had no

intentions of sharing the profits with anyone but his company and his

family." However, he did offer a discounted licensing fee for Starski

and Bambaataa since they coined and helped popularized the term.


When asked if there would be any sort of criteria set up to determine

who will and will not be allowed to use the phrase 'Hip Hop',

Gonahangya explained that for most part if a company has the money and

a viable revenue stream for residual payments then it should be a

'piece of cake'. As for criteria, Gonahangya explained that he has

very little tolerance and respect for individuals and companies that

are attempting to use the phrase Hip Hop for political gain.


"Recently the term 'Hip Hop' has been positioned as a

progressive/liberal movement. That's unfair and a totally one-sided

approach to what is an American institution.Hip Hop is for everyone.

It is not a slick political campaign tool for Jesse Jackson, Al

Sharpton or Hillary Clinton.", he retorted


Gonahangya became evasive when asked if he would allow the term Hip

Hop to be used by any of the conservative organizations that he

regularly associates with and lobbies for. " To be honest we have not

ruled them out. We believe that Hip Hop needs to be politically

balanced. For years Hip Hop has been associated with liberal causes

that have totally undermined the moral fiber of this country. We will

be very selective as to how Hip Hop will be used politically", he said


Gonahangya continued; "I will assure you this... In the future you

will not be seeing billboards or magazine ads with the words 'Hip Hop'

and Reparations, 'Hip Hop' and Affirmative Action or even 'Hip Hop'

and Black Power anytime soon. If it hasn't come through our offices

and been granted a licensing fee then its existence will be in

violation of the Millennium Copyright Act of 2001 and we intend to

aggressively go after any violators and prosecute. This about

political integrity and money".


Some our speculating that Gonahangya intends to use his ownership of

the now trademarked term 'Hip Hop' to quiet down any sort of political

movement that has been organizing around the term in time for the 2004



We caught up with Greg Watkins webmaster of the popular site

allhiphop.com and he noted that he had received a letter from

Gonahangya's AMO Inc company earlier this month. "He told us in the

letter that we were in violation of his this trademark law and that me

and my partner Chuck would have to pay licensing fee if we wanted to

keep the word 'Hip Hop in our name. We checked with our lawyers and

found out that we were safe because we are allhiphop and not just 'hip

hop'. It's obvious these guys are serious about collecting their



We caught up with long time Bay Area writer and Hip Hop deejay Billy

Jam who does the Hip Hop Slam radio show and has the website Hip Hop

Slam. "Yeah this attorney contacted my attorney and said I would have

to take the 'Hip Hop' out of Hip Hop Slam or pay a fee if I want to

continue doing business. At first I thought it was a joke and then

days later I received a subpoena to show up in court. I was told if I

don't remove the word Hip Hop from Hip Hop Slam or pay a licensing fee

then I could lose my house, my car and my prized record collection".

Normally I don't give a damn about such things, but I can't afford to

lose my records", Billy Jam said


We caught up with popular Bay Area rapper /writer JR The Rap Slanger

out of East Oakland. He said: " Look man, this country's always been

about business and fools is gonna try and collect their paper. But

this is straight up bullS%$T. How's this fool gonna try and trademark

a word and collect a fee? Brothas need to rise up and retaliate and

put a foot in his ass. But let's be honest, me personally I don't

have to worry because I'm not really Hip Hop. I rap. I'm a rapper.

There's a difference between rap and Hip Hop. I guess Hip Hop is

gonna die but rap is gonna go on forever! He didn't trademark the

word Rap did he? "


As far as I can tell the word rap is not trademarked. Nor can it be

because of it's long standing everyday usage.


We checked with famed NY copyright attorney Arnold Esquire Sullivan

and he soberly explained that the new provisions that have been added

does indeed give AMO Inc the right to trademark and collect a

licensing fee for use of the word Hip Hop and any other coined

'unique' phrase. If the word is made up or unique to the American

lexicon then it can be trademarked and people will have to pay a fee

if they wish to use it in any sort of business endeavor.


Sullivan explained the new amendment went through around the same time

they were crafting the Patriot Act. "It's a shame people went to

sleep on this. I hate to say this but Negroes had better wake up and

start smelling the coffee. These people in Washington are not



Sullivan concluded by noting that failure to comply with the new

trademark laws can result in serious economic repercussions and a

stiff 5 year prison sentence. He noted that the stiff prison sentence

came after music industry executives and software companies lobbied

congress for harsher penalties for bootleggers and other 'copyright'

thieves'. "Unfortunately this new trademark law as it pertains to the

phrase Hip Hop can potentially land people in jail if they try to make

a profit off it', Sullivan noted.


At the end of the press conference Gonahangya explained that he is

currently in negotiations with a major broadcast company so that they

will have the exclusive rights to the word 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya

declined to name the outlet that he is dealing with, but he did note

that should everything work out according to plan this media outlet

has vast resources and will set up offices throughout the country and

help determine which projects and products will be allowed to use the

term 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya refused to say whether or not it would be

an outlet like Clear Channel, Viacom or Emmis that would be

determining who can or cannot use the word 'Hip Hop'. "It would be

premature for me to give out that information", he said


It is clear that big corporations and government lobbyist now own Hip



Gonahangya also reiterated the fact that he is extending a month long

grace period. He also used the occasion to pitch his new licensing

service. In what appeared to be a real cheesy move he stated that he

was offering a one time discount for the next two weeks. He explained

that he understands that there are a lot of non-profits that use the

phrase Hip Hop in literature and other marketing schemes and as a

result they will be granted a one time 500 dollar processing fee and

will subjected to the similar constraints of their 501 non profit

status. That means they can not use Hip Hop as a political marketing



Non political Independent record labels and artist can obtain a

lifetime license to use the word Hip Hop for 500 dollars. Gonahangya

explained that he believes in doing things for the community and this

is his way of giving back.


"Let it not be said I don't care for the underdog", he said. AMO Inc

is all about helping the downtrodden. We normally charge on average

of 5000 thousand plus lifetime residual fees, but because we care

about the little people we will offer Hip Hop [TM] for 500 dollars

licensing fee for the next two weeks.


If anyone wishes to fill out an application to see if you qualify to

use the term 'Hip Hop' in your product or if you want more information

on AMO Inc call them at 1-800-233-456

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that just seems so unfair.

AMO certainly has no legitimate claim to the ownership.

And didn't KRS already register the 'temple of hiphop' thing?


It's called 'fair usage' you bastards!


The recording and usage rights are owned to 'Happy Birthday'

but it's not like the police raid your little barty if you start singing.

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well, you can say "hip hop" all you want.. just like you can sing the birthday song.. you just cant put it on any items you intend to sell without prior agreement and most likely payment to AMO.


i still think it's a great idea.

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but my issue is why does AMO get the usage?

you know the saying 'ownership is 9/10 of the law' ?

Well I seriously doubt AMO has %0.00001.


Imagine if a major company bought your name and your look

then told you that it would cost you to be what you already were.

A movie came out called 'the life of david gale' starring Kevin Spacey.

Imagine being named David Gale?

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Guest imported_El Mamerro

Guess what today is.

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you cant trade mark everyday shit like that, no matter how much people would like to.


Richard Gonahangya

dick 'gon a hang ya'


c'mon people.... 5-8 BILLION dollars off the usage of the word alone?

id be surprised if the combined sales of the major labels netted 8 billion a year off of hip hop music, let alone the name.

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I'm going to copyright the 'tag'.


yep... any 'tag' or feeble aptempt at a 'teg' will have to be cleared by my screening comittee.

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Originally posted by seeking

Richard Gonahangya

dick 'gon a hang ya'


that's what I noticed, too. Does Davey D do humour pieces? Is this real, or just a 'what if' type of thing?

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Originally posted by Smart

Oh SHIT! Don't sleep on the RapSnacks!


Those things are good fr'eal

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Hell nah! Damn. You kats got me wit that one. I was ready to whip dudes ass. *[applause]*

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Guest WebsterUno

^^^hahahaha...thats a fucking funny ass picture!!

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