Gunnar Þór Andrésson, the former copyright holder of the word “Húh!” has relinquished the rights to the word. The copyright now belongs to KSÍ, the Icelandic Football Association. This brings an end to the great viking clap drama of 2018.
“Húh!” and its associated clap, dubbed the Viking clap, were made famous by supporters of the Icelandic national football team during the 2016 UEFA Euro Championships. At a time when the team was breaking new ground in terms of international success, the sound-and-clap combo became a symbol of national elation.
Cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson drew up a picture of a supporter doing the clap, with the word “Hú!” in a speech bubble above him, and put it on t-shirts which he sold on his web store, dagsson.com.
And all was right with the world until, one day in March 2018, Dagsson posted a status on his Facebook page, stating that an unnamed Grinch had contacted him claiming copyright infringement due to his use of the word “Hú!” and asking him to stop making money off of it, or alternatively to keep making money off of it but let the Grinch in on some of the cash.
Several things were wrong with this turn of events, Dagsson said. For one, how can someone own a copyright on what is essentially a sound effect? For another, Icelanders had stolen the Viking clap from the Scots.
Thirdly, and perhaps most bafflingly, his “Hú!” wasn’t precisely the “Húh!” on the copyright. His team responded to the copyright claim by attempting to patent “Hú!” but the Icelandic Patent Office was having none of it: in their infinite typographical wisdom, they ruled that the two words were one and the same.
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The response was swift and merciless. Dagsson’s social media channels lit up with incensed fans, outraged that someone would try to profiteer by cornering a symbol of unity that was supposed to belong to everyone. Media caught wind of the matter and the story spread far and wide (reaching even international outlets such as the BBC), to much general indignation.
Andrésson, for his part, quickly released a statement saying he regretted his actions, citing several instances of harassment, name-calling and even outright threats. He immediately began taking steps to hand the copyright over to KSÍ, a process that appears to have now finally reached its conclusion.
KSÍ issued a press release this morning, saying: “Gunnar contacted KSÍ on his own initiative this spring, desiring to hand over the copyright to the association without payment. KSÍ is satisfied with this outcome and would like to extend thanks to Gunnar for concluding this affair in a favourable manner.”
Dagsson has continued selling the shirts. He is donating half of all proceeds to the Icelandic Cancer Society.