RNC Backs Down On Threats Over T-Shirts With Its Logo

from the an-elephant-never-forgets,-but-sometimes-it-misuses-trademark-law dept

Paul Alan Levy writes in to let us know that following widespread press coverage of his challenge to the Republican National Committee to back down from suing CafePress over t-shirts that use the term "GOP" or show the RNC's elephant logo, that the RNC has in fact agreed to back down. It won't be suing CafePress or users, and will only ask that those who just show the logo or the term apply for a free license (though, it's unclear what happens if that license request is turned down). However, in following this story, Levy discovered that the RNC had also been threatening some individual sellers, especially on t-shirts that are critical of the RNC. Levy and Public Citizen have called on the RNC to withdraw the threatening letters, and warns the RNC that it may sue for declaratory relief (basically get a judge to say the t-shirts are perfectly legal) if the RNC does not withdraw the letters.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 22 Jul 2008 @ 12:49am

    "Levy and Public Citizen have called on the RNC to withdraw the threatening letters, and warns the RNC that it may sue for declaratory relief (basically get a judge to say the t-shirts are perfectly legal) if the RNC does not withdraw the letters."

    Good on 'em.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:46am

      Re:

      "Good on 'em."

      The fact that they are stealing the logo which is a copyright violation, or the fact that they are critical of the RC?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:01am

        Re: Re:

        They aren't stealing the logo, the RNC still has it. They may be using it without permission, but why should we need permission to talk about politics?

        Also, yes, being critical of the RNC is a good thing. So is being critical of the Democrats, and the Green, and the Libertarians. No one should be beyond the reach of criticism.

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

      • identicon
        Chronno S. Trigger, 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:22am

        Re: Re:

        If they are using the logo to show their dislike for a product, using "GOP" instead of "RNC" or with the circle-slash, doesn't that qualify as satire and fall under fair use? This is the same reason Walmart can't sue the WalmartSucks people.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re:

        I thought Logos were Trademarks

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

      • identicon
        Amazing Steve, 26 Jul 2008 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re:

        Ahh, there's the rub. The bully is getting slapped around everuwhere it turns these days and now it's pitching a fit "cuz people ain't plain' nice." Fuck them the GOP is finished in America.

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

  • identicon
    Scott, 22 Jul 2008 @ 4:14am

    sheesh

    Political party should own nothing that could be considered IP. By definition, political party should be considered public domain.

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

  • identicon
    Idiot, 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:15am

    Logos?! Copyrights?

    How long have these logos been copyrighted? The copyright DOES expire... unless they're pulling a Disney on us...

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

  • identicon
    Foxstudio, 22 Jul 2008 @ 8:51am

    RNC backs down

    Uh, any chance that the RNC isn't familiar with the First Amendment? Wouldn't printed material like t-shirts be covered? One of the major whole points of this country is to protect the expression of unpopular ideas. Guess the Republicans are a little unclear on the concept except when it involves them trashing someone they don't like (Hilary comes to mind. No boundaries there that I could see).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 8:59am

      Re: RNC backs down

      Copyright and trademark pre-empt first ammendment rights. You're free to say whatever you want so long as you don't infringe on my property.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: RNC backs down

        "the RNC admits that it has no claim against anybody who combines either an elephant or the acronym GOP with expressive words or design elements (whether positive or negative toward the Republicans."

        looks like you disagree with the people you're trying to defend

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2008 @ 2:23pm

      Re: RNC backs down

      Uh, any chance that the RNC isn't familiar with the First Amendment?
      Considering the way the current RNC backed administration has worked to subvert the U.S. constitution, I's say that question is a little silly.

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

  • identicon
    JustMe, 22 Jul 2008 @ 10:27am

    Ah Geeze, for the last time

    It is NOT a copyright violation. It especially is NOT a copyright violation if they are using it to make a statement against the RNC. That is defined in the fair use statute.

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

  • identicon
    mr21stcent, 23 Jul 2008 @ 8:26am

    Trademarks

    A major problem exists. (nothing to do with RNC) When a licence (yes it is spelled correctly) is issued, it also becomes a licence to steal. Buyers can pay anywhere up to three times for a logo labeled item. The market is inaccessible to many and that is unfair. Logo protection should have time limits like patents. Not everyone is rich.

    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
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.