Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censoring, censorship, trademark

Trademark Claims: The Option Of Choice For Censoring Critics

from the get-to-it dept

Via Michael Scott, we learn about how the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) tried to shut down a blog critical of the group using a trademark claim. While the AFT eventually backed down, after pretty much everyone made it clear that it had no chance to win a trademark claim against a site that was clearly criticizing it, Ron Coleman makes the point that trademark is the "tort of choice for censors." I'd suggest that copyright isn't far behind, but it's really amazing how often trademark holders try to use trademark claims to censor any kind of speech they dislike about their mark. And even if the trademark claim has no chance of winning, it often doesn't matter to those who simply can't afford the time or the money to fight such claims.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2009 @ 7:05am

    It happens because these sorts of claims are the shortest route from point A to point B. The threshold for proof is lower, and in the case of copyright, DMCA pretty much requires quick action to remove the offending material or risk significant costs.

    More than anything, this is the proof that the legal system (outside of copyright and trademark law) is so screwed up and so slow, that companies are doing what works quickly to resolve what they see as an issue.

    Internet time versus Legal time is a real issue.

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