Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Keep Calm–Then Rant A Bit


This poster was produced by the British Government during WW2, part of a set of 3, but its distribution was limited. In 2000, Stuart and Mary Manley, who ran a bookshop in Northumberland found the poster and framed it. It attracted so much interest that they began printing and selling the posters.

And there have been loads of spin-offs, and clever twists [‘keep calm and carry yarn’ etc] The Manleys have been OK with that – and are happy to acknowledge the history of the poster, citing the 1997 undergraduate dissertation, and later PhD thesis of Dr Bex Lewis

But now a man called Mark Coop, who set up his company “Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd” a mere four years ago** is trying to trademark the slogan, and prevent anyone else from using it, because he says his livelihood depends on it. I think the man has a real cheek. Will he try and claim “Dig For Victory” is his next?

I am all for people being able to protect and copyright their property – whether it is words, music, art, crafts whatever. But I do not believe this man ‘owns’ this phrase. He was not the first to use it, nor the first to unearth the posters [apparently he does not even possess a WW2 original poster] This strikes me as sheer greed.


**Liz gave me a KC&CO poster before Mark Coop’s company started!

There were originally three posters in the WW2 set – so here’s the third. Do check out the campaign here



  1. The cheeky so and so, I love this slogan, it is just a reflection of the times we live in sadly

  2. There are some things that just can't be owned --I think this falls into that category. I love that phrase and have used it many times myself (mostly TO myself, LOL). Was this guy even alive in WW2?

  3. The Royal Canadian Legion has copyrighted the red poppy. You are not allowed to use the image of the poppy without their permission. The government got into trouble because they used the image of the poppy on the road signs for the "Highway of Heroes".
    We no longer buy poppies from the Legion for Remembrance Day. Madness, absolute madness.
    Jane x

  4. That action by the RCL seems a bit much, I agree with you Jane. I cannot help feeling that it may backfire on them if people stop buying the poppies.

    BB- no, he is much too young to remember WW2!

    Sharon- thanks for mentioning the KC&CO campaign on your blog too!

  5. What a lot of rubbish! This is like trying to copyright the flag! I signed the petition and will do a post on it. The greed of the times...

  6. Off to sign the petition too!


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