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Why Admiral Akbar Will Not Be the New Mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels

I don’t mean to get all lawyerly on you or anything, but this Admiral-Akbar-for-Ole-Miss-mascot nonsense has got to stop, and, if the line is not drawn here (sorry; I know my "Star Wars" from my "Star Trek," so I regret mixing my sci-fi references), attorneys are going to become involved in their official capacities, and no one wants that.

All those folks who think it would be cute for the University of Mississippi to replace Colonel Reb with the Rebel Alliance’s Admiral Akbar (yeah, yeah, all right, I get it already) need to remember what is involved with getting a character owned by a major motion picture studio onto the sideline of a college football stadium. Take it away, Oregon Ducks:

Oregon's first athletic director, Leo Harris, struck a handshake arrangement with Walt Disney. Donald's likeness could serve as a mascot, as long as it was done in good taste. The unique deal stood for 20 years, with Walt Disney Productions providing several versions of the duck for Oregon's use, until the cartoonist's death in 1966. That's when both parties realized no formal contract existed granting the University the right to Donald's image.

The best evidence Harris could offer was a photograph taken two decades earlier showing the late Mr. Disney in an Oregon letterman's jacket with the Oregon Duck clearly visible on the front. Disney representatives agreed to negotiate the first written contract in 1973 for the athletic department's continued use of Donald.

Note the use of the word "unique," as well as the lengthy backstory that antedated the formal contract between Disney and the University of Oregon. Does anyone think George Lucas is signing off on such a deal with the good people of Oxford? Uh, no:

All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to Lucasfilm Ltd. or its affiliates and/or third-party licensors. STAR WARS, STARWARS.COM; STAR WARS: EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE; STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES; STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH; STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE; STAR WARS: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK; STAR WARS: EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI (collectively referred to herein as the "Star Wars Pictures") and all other Lucasfilm productions, and all logos, characters, artwork, stories, information, names, and other elements associated thereto are the sole and exclusive property of Lucasfilm Ltd.

The advocates of this silliness need to cease and desist. The next lawyer to offer such a suggestion in written form won’t be nearly as nice about it as I have just been. The blogosphere should govern itself accordingly.

It’s a trap! Go ‘Dawgs!