Ongoing news in the whitewashing of Avatar|
I have spoken with an intellectual property attorney. I read up on this subject this summer when discovering that I could not use a name I had hoped to use for a start-up company not just because the name was already in use, but because it was in use for a purpose that was close enough to mine it could be argued it overlapped, despite the fact that it was not the same. If my work had been in a different domain, I could have used the name. There are many names trademarked by multiple people for multiple purposes in the United States. I'm sure you know that.
I believe the protest designers knew something of intellectual property rights. I don't know if you've clicked through and looked at the images they were using - they carefully avoided using actual images from the cartoon, for instance, knowing those were protected.
Still, I see what you mean regarding the names specifically. I see some indication on the web that Aang as a boy's name existed before Avatar used it, but then again, so did "GI Joe". I still have the impression the site was pressured to take down products that did not feature any signs or names that were clearly "owned" by Viacom the way "Aang" is, and I note, as do the people supporting the protest, that Viacom is not bothering other people who are actually merchandising products with the characters pictures and names on them. This is a move to eliminate protest. To silence voices of dissent and criticism.