Clarify Pins do not fall under Delta Sigma Pi's Merchandise Policy
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For years, people have raised money for charitable causes by selling pins with the "Delta Sigma Pi" letters. This raises a little money and has created a lot of Deltasig pin collectors.
Recently the Delta Sigma Pi governance has taking another stab at creating a "merchandise policy".
The entire policy can be found here.
We have always sold pins and donated the proceeds to the Leadership Foundation.
Our pin manufacturer has yet to agree to the "terms" of the third party the fraternity contracted with to "protect its brand". We have asked Central Office for manufacturers that are registered and they have yet to provide a single one. According to this policy, there is not a registered pin maker that can manufacture a pin.
We are not talking about major merchandise, we are talking about pins people like to collect.
Forcing the merchandise policy will tax pin sellers and make those pins more expensive. That is... if we were able to find a manufacturer who is a licensed vendor.
Do you see the conundrum?
Pins should be exempt from the Central Office tax (i.e. compliance of pin manufacturer with licensing/payment requirements).
Otherwise, you are taking the fun out of it and discouraging people who use this as a way to raise funds for the foundation, like myself, from wanting to raise funds for the foundation.
These are traditions.
Do we really want to throw that away so the fraternity can monetize the selling of each item bearing their mark including pins. Maybe we give pins a break.
The leadership of the Fraternity will have you believe that if they don't aggressively enforce our trademark we could lose the exclusive right of our name. Believe me, they are aggressively protecting their mark. Just wait till you try and buy a jersey this year or try and order a shirt with letters on TeeSpring. A "pin exception" will have no effect.
It's important to protect our symbols and for the central office to make some money of merchandise, but to tax the production (not selling) of every item bearing the greek letters "Delta Sigma Pi" might be a little much.
We strongly believe that chapters should have the ability to sell pins for fundraising purposes. So long as the use of the mark is not offensive and approved, pins should be exempt from the policy so that we have a source of revenue for chapters, and the rich tradition of Delta Sigma Pi pins continues.
If the merchandise policy is imposed on pins, it will effectively end the tradition of pins in Delta Sigma Pi. It will also impact donations to the Foundation.
I never thought I would be creating a petition about "pins". But then again, I never thought obstacles would be placed to raise money by the organization you are raising money for. This policy will hurt chapters and discourage alumni from involvement and trying to raise money for a good cause (i.e. the Leadership Foundation).
For these reasons, I ask you to join me by signing this petition.
Past Chair and President of Leadership Foundation
Beta Omega 1188
Response from Past Grand President Onuke Ibe:
The Leadership Foundation exists to support the fraternity. This policy exists to protect and support the fraternity.
Because we had not aggressively protected our intellectual property in the past, we ran the risk of not being able to when it mattered. For example, a few years ago a Canadian fraternity stated with the name Delta Sigma Pi. We reached out and they changed their name without a fight, but had it gone to court we might have had a challenge showing our IP was important enough to us to protect. If something like this happens in the future, we will have a record of enforcement as well as the professional support of our licensing partner to fight it.
Many corporations and colleges are aggressively protecting their brand. Some of our own host colleges have sent cease and desist communications to student orgs for using unlicensed versions of their logo or other IP. Even if we didn’t have the licensed vendor program adopted a year ago, we would continue and increase enforcement of our long-standing policy not to violate another company’s IP.
We already see much more choice as a result of this policy. Some vendors have refused to sell unlicensed DSP gear to protect themselves. Additionally, our licensing partner seeks out vendors and gets them to sign up to be an approved and licensed vendor. Our licensing partner also enforces our IP for us. Many issues are handled before staff even knows about it. Thus, staff can spend their time supporting chapters rather than policing vendors. Also, we now have the collective power of all the orgs working with our licensing partner, as an attacking on any org’s IP creates a potential for an attack on all of our IP. Royalties and fees both support the operations of the licensing vendor, but they also cut is a check which goes toward fraternity programs and operations.
I speak on behalf of all trustees in saying we appreciate the generosity of our members, which allows us to provide scholarships and grants for leadership and educational programs. Nothing prevents a Deltasig from selling merchandise to benefit an individual, chapter, or the Leadership Foundation. But any merchandise must meet the policy requirements. If someone has a question or unique case, staff can consult on how best to approach it. We also encourage members to direct their favorite vendor to sign up as a licensed vendor.
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