Urbin Report

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Liberal democrats against free speech

By way of Mr. Reynolds, here is yet another example:

So it's not too surprising that the liberal advocacy group would be a mite touchy from all the blowback online, even though it should be used to the abuse by now. So touchy, in fact, that it's been sending out cease-and-desist letters to CafePress, a website that lets people offer custom-designed t-shirts, coffee mugs and the like for sale. Last week it demanded that the site remove eight items, arguing that they violated MoveOn's merchandising trademarks.
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Trademark law doesn't confer monopoly rights over all uses of a registered phrase or symbol, however, and it wasn't created simply to protect the trademark owner's interests. Instead, it's designed to protect consumers against being misled or confused about brands. The courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of parodies and critiques; that's why www.famousbrandnamesucks.com doesn't violate famousbrandname's trademark. And most, if not all, of the items targeted by MoveOn were clearly designed to razz it, not to trick buyers into thinking they were the group's products.

Beyond that, it's amazing that MoveOn would try to squelch political speech. That's another clear purpose of the targeted items. Take, for example, this message on a t-shirt designed by a lifelong Democrat from Southern California:

General Petraeus has done more for this country than MoveOn.org. MoveOn.org, the worst friend a Democrat could have! Move Away from Move On!


The target of the "moveon" attack on the First Amendment got the message loud and clear.
This shop is retooling after trademark infringement complaints by a left-leaning political fundraising organization who objected to the use of their name on t-shirts. Despite a brilliant rebuttal from the legal counsel at Cafe Press regarding First Amendment Rights and the history of political parody in our country, we have decided to temporarily close as we sharpen our claws. Why? Because I'm one person. They're a large group with the money to run ads in the NY Times demeaning a four star general. Henceforth, the six-letter group that complained shall be referred to as "The group that shall not be named."
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One individual's voice is as important as their collective roar. This is a heavy handed treatment by a very powerful organization. More to the point, it is a slap at the freedom that this nation was built on.
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And lest "the group that shall not be named" think this is a right-wing conspiracy, it isn't. I'm a Democrat. Or, I will be until tomorrow.

The PoliStew Cafe will reopen shortly. We would like to design a shirt that support the troops ,with all proceeds going to a military NPO after I check Charity Navigator. Thank you for your patience.