MoveOn and free speech

So it’s okay for to say whatever they want about anyone else, but don’t dare criticize them:

(I)t’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.

There’s nothing like the smell of blatant hypocrisy in the morning.

4 responses to “MoveOn and free speech”

  1. So defending intellectual property is anti-free speech, in your mind?

  2. From the LA Times:

    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 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.

  3. I read that on the click through, as well. But parody/criticism is not an absolute defense in trademark infringement. The opinion piece asserts that the infringement was an attempt to censor but doesn’t actually show the offending article. You dislike MoveOn, so you’ve concluded that the infringement is innocent.

    Trademark law demands that an entity defend its mark or run the risk of losing it. My guess is the decision was made by MoveOn’s lawyers and had absolutely no relation to whether or not the Cafe Press item was pro or anti MoveOn.

  4. I don’t like it when any large organization, left or right, brings in the lawyers to stifle legitimate parody. You seem more intent on defending MoveOn than defending free speech.

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