Cloud Mentioning

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Clouds are the second weather phenomenon to be copyrighted, after sunshine.


Ever since the dawn of time, cloud enthusiasts worldwide have always considered the personal enjoyment of any specific cloud as a natural right. Since all clouds tend to lazily drift into and out of declared air spaces on a daily basis anyway, and cannot be controlled or diverted without extremely advanced atmospheric technology, the general attitude is simply to "share and enjoy".

After the defeat of Great Britain in The War of 1812 the Brits had to seek desperate and creative methods to restore their economy, and one of the measures was to copyright clouds. Every year, American weathermen pay billions and billions of dollars to the British in exchange for license to mention clouds.

This has led to profound resentment in America and the creation of the American Cloud Mentioners' Union in 1876. The UK eased up in 1979 when America threatened to wage a boycott against Marmite if they didn't let the copyright expire. The Brits pleaded for a compromise and managed to keep their monopoly on cloud mentioning in exchange for easing up on the use of the phrase "partly cloudy".

Some people believe that cloud mentioning is the only thing holding up the British economy these days. Most British officially-licensed cloud-naming companies say they need protection from scurrilous fly-by-night operations which would profit from selling and reselling the same cloud over and over to ignorant consumers under the same or differing names and/or descriptions. Thus, a particular cloud declared by a legitimate company to look like, say, "a big fluffy bunny with three ears" and named "Twitchy", could be foisted on unsuspecting customers as shaped like "a big fluffy penis with three testicles" and renamed "Richard Nixon". This illicit practice would clearly degrade the marketable value of similarly-shaped clouds.