It's really quite amazing how frequently those targeted by parody freak out and reach for intellectual property law in an attempt to silence the speech directed at them. The latest is the group "Invisible Children", which became quite famous (or infamous) earlier this year for the viral success of the "Kony 2012" video, which sought to build support for arresting Joseph Kony. Apparently a group of NYU grad students created a website called Kickstriker
, which is a parody of Kickstarter, but to pretend that it's a crowdsourcing campaign to hire people to go get Kony.
However, as Wired's Danger Room blog discovered, Inivisible Children doesn't like being parodied. So they sent a cease-and-desist arguing that it violated both their copyrights and trademarks
“It has come to our attention that you are causing public confusion through your use of Invisible Children’s copyrighted and trademarked property on www.kickstriker.com. This impermissible use is a blatant and egregious infringement of Invisible Children’s valuable copyright and trademark rights,” reads a letter Invisible Children sent last week and acquired by Danger Room. “[F]ailure to cease and desist your unlawful use of Invisible Children’s intellectual property will result in legal action.”
Among Invisible Children’s demands: “Confirm in writing that you have permanently deleted all electronic copies of the unauthorized and infringing materials from any computers, servers, or other distribution media”; take down any links to Invisible Children’s material; and declare “in a prominent location” that Kickstriker is “in no way associated with Invisible Children, Inc. or the Kony 2012 campaign.”
Thankfully, the students behind Kickstriker appear to know that these demands are ridiculous and have replied, with an explanation of fair use. You would think, in this day and age, that someone might have explained all that to the Invisible Children folks before
they sent the takedown.