“SeaWorld’s Animal Captivity Practices Facing Trademark Issues With The App”

A team at the University of Florida put the brakes on an AR app that would have been able to share SeaWorld’s animal captivity practices. The app called SeeWorld shared the criticism of the theme park with users on the app the owner Sid Dobrin and his team recently labeled the app as a counter-tour. A narrator explained in a recent promotional video that the SeeWorld AR app offers op-positional voices a platform to speak alongside the company’s highly managed discourse.

It seemed like the app was off to a good start until the plug was pulled.

Dobrin was unable to answer certain questions about the trademark shortly after the app went public. He mentioned he was going to delay the conversation until he addresses the issues that arose. They asked Dobrin for more specifics. Dobrin and Sea World are not returning each others comments at this time.

The app is available:

  • from the Google Play Store on Android 
  • the SeeWorld channel on the Aurasma app iPhone or Android

It allows visitors of SeaWorld to place their phones over a handful of trigger locations within the park. The app then displays information about the animals and locations. It could serve to be very educational especially when it comes to young children and even students who are trying to follow a career in marine biology. The trademark issue set Dobrin and his team back quite a bit.

Project leaders claimed that the free app will be a perfect example for those who want to focus their users’ attention on locations. The public app release stated that SeaWorld does not only operate as a critique of SeaWorld-Orlando amusement park but it also provides a model for augmented reality. To them, this is the most important part of the app. It shows how augmented reality technologies can be altered and used for place-based critique. It will be another shining example of the flexibility of AR technologies and how almost anything can be integrated with it.

The app made its debut during a time of declining revenue and attendance at SeaWorld. The park has been the topic of constant criticism from animal welfare activists. To add the cherry on the proverbial cake, the CEO Joel Manby, also left earlier this year. 

The SeeWorld app was produced through UF’s Trace Innovation Initiative which is a research effort that incorporates and encourages writing, digital media, and ecocriticism.

June 22, 2018