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Ali Spagnola Turns Drinking Game Into Musical Empire

Shot-glass-usbAli Spagnola took a drinking game called Power Hour and turned it into the basis for an album, concert and shot glass USB. Then she got sued by a trademark troll who claimed the rights to "Power Hour" though it was in common usage. It cost Spagnola $30,000 but she didn't let that stop her and now she's taking her game to another level with a crowdfunding campaign for "Ali's Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour."

Ali Spagnola tells her tale of being sued and forging ahead in the above pitch video for her Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour Indiegogo campaign. It's actually a rather sobering tale of trademark abuse and a reminder that musicians should fight for fair use and common ownership of culture just as much as they fight for their copyrights.

Ali's Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour Pitch Video

Spagnola used the Power Hour game as inspiration for the Power Hour Album that features 60 one-minute drinking song. Then she promoted it with the Shot Glass USB that tethers a USB stick to a branded shot glass combining the album and related digital assets on a removable USB stick with a shot glass that one can hang around one's neck.

As Andrea James points out on Boing Boing, there were already numerous Power Hour websites and music mixes available online. Ali Spagnola developed an interactive drinking game concert based on the game then went on to record the album and develop related products.

In 2007, Steve Roose decided to claim Power Hour for himself and the USPTO gave him the trademark without apparently bothering to check for common usage. Spagnola actually filed an opposition but it went through anyway in yet another example of the failure of USPTO which has also been allowing patents for inventions that are simply ideas for things one could do on the web but haven't yet figured out a way to do.

Spagnola went on to spend $30,000 due, in part, to delaying tactics by Roose before winning the right for everyone to use Power Hour as it was already being used. Now she's trying to turn that effort into something positive with her Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour crowdfunding campaign.

Pledge benefits include a digital download of "The Power Hour Album" for a buck, a "cut in line pass" for an original painting and a Live Skype Power Hour Concert.

Though I can't condone shots by the minute, I am impressed by Ali Spagnola's positive persistence and creative use of common culture.

More: Defending Your Brainchild: Ali Spagnola’s Battle for Music, Marketing, SEO and the Power Hour Drinking Game

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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