ONVIF Defends Unauthorized Austin Powers Promotion

By John Honovich, Published Apr 29, 2015, 12:00am EDT

ONVIF won "Worst ISC West 2015" showing for their Austin Powers and Dr. Evil exhibition.

But ONVIF is defending the legitimacy of their performance.

The Defense

An ONVIF spokesperson declared:

"The contractor hired for ISC West is a professional impersonator who has performed the Austin Powers character (as well as many others) for major corporations around the world. ISC West was a closed event - not open to the public - and the character was not used to promote or endorse a product."

So ONVIF did not have any authorization or license to use these characters but, according to them, since ISC West was closed and they were not promoting a product, they did not need to do.

Characters Are Trademarked and Copyrighted

The reason why you do not see Pelco parading Peter Pan or Axis assembling the Avengers or IndigoVision having Iron Man in their booth, is that characters are trademarked and copyrighted. ONVIF is not a homeless guy buying a superhero costume panhandling.

For example, see how Disney studios conducts licensing for its characters.

"Closed" to 25,000 People

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The closed argument is silly given that ~25,000 people were at the show, anyone can get in, typically for free. Most importantly, ISC West is obviously a commercial event.

Clearly Promoting ONVIF

Here's a just few selections of 'Austin Powers' and "Dr Evil" promoting ONVIF:

  • "ONVIF is the place to drive creative industry standards"
  • "I want to be a member of ONVIF"
  • "Profile S... I call it Profile Sexy"

You can watch the presentation done at ISC West below:

Perhaps ONVIF thinks they found a loophole because they do not sell widgets, i.e., a hard 'product' but they still clearly used these characters to promote and endorse their commercial offerings.

Policing is Not ONVIF's Thing

As ONVIF has shown in their own enforcement efforts, policing ONVIF is not their thing. Evidently, ONVIF takes the same approach on misusing other people's property.

While we have great respect for how far ONVIF has come in developing a standard that mostly / usually works for basic integration, their go to market approach continues to be puzzling and self defeating.

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