The whole third-party controversy with WWE has put a lot into perspective over WWE and their ownership over superstars and their names. It came up that WWE happens to have the rights to certain superstars' real names - with John Cena being the most important one of them all.
Many fans have wondered how WWE goes about when it comes to having rights over real names and Tom Colohue addressed this ont he latest episode of Dropkick DiSKussions.
Tom Colohue said that said that WWE gets a cut any time he gets credited in a film. Apparently, John Cena isn't the only one whose names WWE own:
To cite an example, the WWE owns the name John Cena and that is John Cena’s actual name. That means whenever John Cena is filming, whenever he is credited in a film, the WWE gets a pay cut. They get a cut of the profits. There are some people currently working for the WWE whose names are owned by the WWE. I don’t know who, I don’t have a distinctive list. I haven’t read everybody’s contract but those people know who they are.
Tom Colohue then elaborated the complications that come along with WWE owning trademarked names and using it outside of the WWE realm:
The issue as the WWE sees it is that if they have intellectual property for someone’s wrestling name, and that wrestling name is being used to make someone, like an individual, money, then that it is a problem for them as they own the rights to it and it is essentially copyright infringement because you are using a copyrighted term. If let's say, for example, a wrestler on SmackDown decides to release a series of adverts for a TV series, they are in the commercial for a TV series under their wrestling name, WWE either wants a cut or want that to stop. And that is legal as they own the copyrighted material and that copyrighted material is the name of the performer when the performer wrestles. If the performer has their own name signed away in the contract, then the WWE will get a cut if it's their real name as well. That is the issue and they want to see that stop. Now, if wrestles are using names that WWE does not own copyright over, then the WWE has no leverage to say that they want a cut or no leverage that they want that to cease, which is why, when it comes to the cease and when it comes to this meeting, that was what was explained.
What does John Cena think about Vince McMahon owning his name?
In a 2006 interview with Howard Stern, John Cena explained the rather mucky and complicated process of intellectual property. John Cena stated that Vince McMahon owns his government name in a way.
Howard Stern asked John Cena if he's ok with giving Vince McMahon a cut of his projects outside of WWE and the 16-time World Champion stated that before WWE, he was just a regular boy. John Cena felt that he owed it to Vince McMahon for becoming the man that he did and felt that it was only fair that the Chairman of WWE got a cut of what he made.Published 11 Sep 2020, 08:38 IST