Labatt Threatens To Sue Newspaper For Showing Photo of Suspected Killer Holding Its Beer

from the ip-rights-gone-insane dept

If you follow the news for gruesome murders, you're probably well aware of Luka Magnotta, the Canadian who's been accused of killing Lin Jun -- filming the entire thing (and posting it online), then dismembering the body, eating some of it, and sending parts of it to various political offices (separately, he was also accused of making a series of videos in which he tortures and kills cats). Either way, he's become something of a news sensation -- and after a relatively short manhunt, was tracked down and arrested in Berlin. All of that, of course, has nothing to do with stuff that we normally talk about here.

However, as David Canton alerts us, Canadian beer giant Labatt Breweries is now threatening to sue the Montreal Gazette, because in reporting on this story, the Gazette used a photo of Magnotta, showing him holding a bottle of Labatt Blue:
“As I am sure you can understand, this image is highly denigrating to our brand, and we are disturbed that this image remains on your site despite repeated requests and the many images available of this person,” Karyn Sullivan, Labatt’s associate general counsel, wrote in a letter to the Gazette.
Of course, as even the article about this explains, Labatt is "exacerbating the damage" by not just mentioning it, but threatening to sue to get the picture taken down. There's simply no legitimate legal issue here. As the Gazette properly pointed out in response: "The image originally appeared on Magnotta's personal Facebook page and on his blog and thus is newsworthy. There is no connection made between the brand and the suspect in the accompanying caption, headline or news story."

Except that, now that Labatt has threatened to sue, there is a connection. If someone at Labatt had simply understood the very basics of the Streisand Effect, they would have known better. It seems like perhaps Labatt should spend a bit more time hiring better lawyers, rather than worrying about a photo of an accused killer drinking its beer.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    they should perhaps be grateful for the free advertising?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    I can see the next ad campaing for the brand.

    Labatt Blue. Just go berserk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Glen, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Jeez, even psycho murderers get thirsty too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    I don't always kill people, but when I do I prefer to drink Labatt's Blue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    LMFAO

    Now I can't stop associating Labatt Blue with psychopaths and murderers.

    Funny thing is that I don't associate beer in general with murders, just Labatt Blue. OMG it's amazing how a single picture can control my thoughts so completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    radiatorninjaen (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    If reddit discovers this story, the tsunami of memes created from this well suited meme picture will surely please Labatt...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    It's obviously a case of . . .

    Felony interference with a brand's public image!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Already dropped. Techdirt == behind the times

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      sehlat (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 3:29pm

      Re:

      It's OK. Nothing moves faster than a troll.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      The fact they thought they had a case to begin with is the story.
      Or do you believe we should edit factual information like they do in movies to blur out logos and such to protect companies special rights?

      He posted a picture of him drinking a beer, there was not a story attached about how Blue allegedly made him a murderer.
      The fact they went stupid deserves to be reported and the should be a discussion about what kind of idiots run Labatt that their biggest concern is ZOMG we look bad by association.
      Maybe we missed how many drunk driving accidents are caused by people using their product as intended and we should focus on how much they spend on advertising and how much they spend on the drink responsibly message.
      (I'm still a big believer in personal responsibility, but if their product being incidentally shown in a news story has their panties this bunched why not the number of deaths they contribute to?)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 1:41am

        Re: Re:

        I think that their concern is that their logo isn't "incidental", it's pretty much the only focus point of the image aside from the guy's face. While it may have been accidental, the image looks very much like an attempt to do the "beer spokesman" look (the murder was an aspiring model and douche nozzle).

        The image could easily have been cropped to remove the label. They didn't, and they are well within the law. Labatt only appears to be pointing out that it's a pretty poor choice.

        It's a non-story, really.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          btr1701 (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Labatt only appears to be pointing out that it's a pretty poor choice.

          Well, that and threatening to sue over it.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          MrWilson, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 11:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The image could easily have been cropped to remove the label."

          The reporting of the truth shouldn't be distorted just because it damages a brand in the minds of marketing people.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Geez, Labatt must be having quite the hangover from this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    I think this is just a part of the absurdity that is advertising. Corporate marketing people spend their lives trying to make people associate their brands with particular things. Therefore, any association is either positive or negative marketing. They actually believe that consumers are so stupid as to accept those associations (and granted, some probably are, even if subconsciously). For the rest of us, marketing in general is transparent bullshit, so the negative marketing is also just bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 4:02pm

      Re:

      So you mean that if I drink beer, I won't suddenly be surrounded by a bunch of sexy women that all want to hang out with me?

      Damn, there goes that plan...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        MrWilson, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

        Re: Re:

        Nope.

        And what I think is terrible about marketing is that it makes you want the fictional "features" that the advertisements show that you know aren't a part of the actual features. Awesome 3d animation will not pop out of your smart phone and dance around you when you use it. People don't just randomly hand you the keys to their car and expect you to do the same to another stranger where ever you end up going in it.

        Sometimes it's a good thing the features shown in advertisements are fictional. If my cat went on a fantasy acid trip every time it had some fancy feast, I'd be in trouble.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For all the crying "think of the children" that they use when trying to censor or restrict, you sure don't hear about it when it comes to advertising. All advertising to children is harmful and impacts children negatively. And now FakeBook will be gathering data on the 13 and unders to better target them with manipulative messages and propaganda.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    how about

    Labatt Ice (pick) blue......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Think about the drunk children!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    crade (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    Looks to me like it's a fact that this suspected serial killer was holding a labatts blue bottle and labatts is unhappy with the facts and wants them supressed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Oh, Canada...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    I think I have the solution; Just censor the beer bottle from the photo. I think the following image will be much more to Labatt's liking;

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/534/hdo0g.jpg/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Bloomman (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    I didn't even know (or care)

    But now, not only do I know that this lover boy chugs the Labatt's, but that also Labatts is worried about it. Should I be worried about it? Am I gonna go Labatt sh*t crazy!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Coca-cola has a patent on the shape of their bottle ( Making illegal to photograph... or so they claim )

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 5:19pm

    Sue the killer, not the messenger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 12:00am

      Re:

      "As I am sure you can understand, this image is highly denigrating to our brand,"

      Your actions seemed to hurt your brand a hell of a lot more.
      But feel free to pick some new slogans your "fans" on twitter have offered you...
      https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23newlabattcampaign

      Labatt Blue: Tastes great, less filling, and won't cost you an arm and a leg. #newlabattcampaign

      Labatt Blue: All Beer, No Head. #newlabattcampaign

      This Beer's for You. And the Voices in Your Head. #newlabattcampaign

      Damage control.... your doing it wrong.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 6:55pm

    If you have tasted that beer. You already know a serial killer is the least of it's problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2012 @ 11:48pm

    fake pic

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 4:45am

    Hitler ate sugar! SUGAR IS EVIL!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Was it the Labatt Blue or the person holding the Labatt Blue that caused the crime? That will always be the question. We should require everyone register their Labatt Blue and take Labatt Blue training certification before being allowed to buy a Labatt Blue. Each state or province should have their own regulations regarding the sale and use of Labatt Blue especially if someone wants to conceal carry their Labatt Blue. If anyone moves into a neighborhood after having been found to have committed an offense involving a Labatt Blue they should register as a Labatt Blue offender in the local registry and the neighbors should have flyer handed to them identifying the Labatt Blue offender and what he did with his Labatt Blue so they can take safeguards.

    Someone needs to start a petition!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    case, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:36am

    Magnotta is coincidentally the name of a large winery in Ontario. Perhaps they will sue to stop publication of his last name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Scott Falkner, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Let’s help Labatt out

    Maybe they’ll feel better if we show their product in other hands.

    http://mlkshk.com/p/GHE8

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Joshy, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Would they have sued The President or the The Queen or Katy Perry or *insert name of famous person* for having a photo taken while holding their beer???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    PRK (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    The LaBatt Protect the IP Image Act of 2012

    We obviously need a law prohibitting anyone with a criminal mind from associating with any known brand for fear that it will harm the entire inustry of North America.

    When asked for comment, Mr. LaBatt said "we are doing this for the children. Think of how they would otherwise suffer from not being able to enjoy a beer for fear of its association with violent criminals.."

    Reached in his cozy confines in Berlin, Mr. Magnotta said, "what's a LaBatt? I just used a stick and a knife...?

    News was also received indicating Facebook was considering action against LaBatt on the grounds that but for the LaBatt's beer, Magnott would not have seemed interesting enough to have his photo taken and included in Facebook and thus absent the beer, Facebook would not have had its valuable image and IP rights tarnished by the reference in the newspaper.

    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Forgot, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    Why not

    Used to drink plenty of these when I drank. Labatts doesn't need the money, but why not benefit from the Streisand Effect anda healthy settlement, buy some skeeter spray and throw a party_Labatts style? Eh?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    What I Didn't Spell it Right, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Cannonballism

    It should be obvious to everyone now, that it does help to wash it down with lots of preferably stout beer..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    SoCalDad, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Drinking Labatt Blue must make you stupid.

    Drinking Labatt Blue must make you stupid. I wouldn't have known about the killer drinking their brew (I hadn't seen the photo until now) until they sued over it. They need to fire their PR people for letting the legal dept. make such a stupid mistake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 7th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

    Google and Streisand

    The photo now shows up on the first page of google results for Labatt. I doubt it did before they complained.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jim, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    Labatt

    Should I sue Labatt for selling rotten Bud light??
    That could kill you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This