“Dumb Starbucks” as an Art Gallery

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“Dumb Starbucks Coffee” is the name of a shop that appeared at 1802 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz over the weekend, and it’s more or less identical to a coffee shop owned by the Starbucks Corporation, but for the word “dumb” preceding everything having to do with the store. Dumb Starbucks has appropriated nearly all of Starbucks’s intellectual property–from its Mermaid logo, to the font on the outside of the building, to the names of its drinks (fancy a Dumb Frappucino, anybody?).

The store’s FAQ explores the legality of this, citing “parody law.”
“By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically ‘making fun’ of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use,'” the FAQ explains, adding that, while Dumb Starbucks Coffee is a fully functioning coffee shop (that admittedly doesn’t charge for its product), fair use law means that “in the eyes of the law, our ‘coffee shop’ is actually an art gallery, and the ‘coffee’ you’re buying is considered the art.”