Appeals Court Rightly Overturns NAACP's Successful Attempt To Censor Speech Via Trademark Law

from the free-speech-matters dept

Last fall, we wrote about a troubling decision in a district court that ruled that the NAACP could use trademark law to censor a vocal critic who had written a mocking online article calling the NAACP the "National Association for the Abortion of Colored People" as part of an anti-abortion campaign. The NAACP sent the organization that posted the story, the Radiance Foundation (and the author/owner of Radiance, Ryan Bomberger), a legal threat letter. In response, Radiance filed for declaratory judgment that it did not infringe on the NAACP's trademarks, and the NAACP countersued arguing trademark infringement. The lower court sided with the NAACP, and barred Bomberger/Radiance from using the fake NAACP name to mock the group.

No matter how you feel about the NAACP or abortion, the idea that it would use trademark law to silence a critic is highly questionable. Remember, the purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers from confusion in commercial settings. But, as with copyright, many seek to use it as a crude censorship tool -- and here, it worked. At first. Thankfully, the Fourth Circuit has overturned that ruling noting the total lack of actual trademark infringing, and hinting at (though leaving aside) the serious First Amendment concerns. The court here notes that to interpret trademark law the way the NAACP requests would lead to plenty of suppressed speech that has nothing to do with the true purpose of trademark law:
The NAACP urges us to give this requirement a “broad construction,” Appellee’s Br. at 18, but that construction would expose to liability a wide array of noncommercial expressive and charitable activities. Such an interpretation would push the Lanham Act close against a First Amendment wall, which is incompatible with the statute’s purpose and stretches the text beyond its breaking point. We decline to reach so far.
From there, the court rightly worries about what would happen if it accepted the NAACP's interpretation of trademark law:
The danger of allowing the “in connection with” element to suck in speech on political and social issues through some strained or tangential association with a commercial or transactional activity should thus be evident. Courts have uniformly understood that imposing liability under the Lanham Act for such speech is rife with the First Amendment problems.
The court then details where the lower court went wrong. The lower court claimed that because Radiance sought donations in its sidebar, that made the article "use in commerce." But the appeals court points out that this is ridiculous and would "neuter the First Amendment."
That ruling, however, neuters the First Amendment....

Suffice it to say that the specific use of the marks at issue here was too attenuated from the donation solicitation and the billboard campaign to support Lanham Act liability. Although present on the article page, the Donate button was off to the side and did not itself use the NAACP’s marks in any way. The billboard campaign was displayed on a different page altogether. A visitor likely would not perceive the use of the NAACP’s marks in the article as being in connection with those transactional components of the website. It is important not to lose perspective. The article was just one piece of each Radiance website’s content, which was comprised of articles, videos, and multimedia advocacy materials. That the protected marks appear somewhere in the content of a website that includes transactional components is not alone enough to satisfy the “in connection with” element. To say it was would come too close to an absolute rule that any social issues commentary with any transactional component in the neighborhood enhanced the commentator’s risk of Lanham Act liability.
And thus, the court notes that merely writing an article that mocks the NAACP is not really "use in commerce" for the sake of trademark law. From there, the court also takes on the "likelihood of confusion" question, and finds no such likelihood exists. And, again, the court notes (correctly) that getting this test wrong could have First Amendment implications:
Indeed, criticism or parody of a mark holder would be difficult indeed without using the mark.... Trademark protections exist neither to allow companies to protect themselves from criticism nor to permit them to “control language.” .... Even some amount of “actual confusion” must still be weighed against the interest in a less fettered marketplace of social issues speech.
And, in this case, the lower court was itself quite confused... over the basics of trademark law. First, it notes, it doesn't matter if Radiance's usage confused people into thinking that the NAACP supported abortion -- as that's not what trademark law is about:
Likewise, trademark infringement is not designed to protect mark holders from consumer confusion about their positions on political or social issues. The evidence of “actual confusion” relied on by the district court consisted of phone calls to the NAACP by people who took issue with the NAACP supporting abortion. Radiance Found.... “[I]ndignation is not confusion,” ... at least not as pertains to trademark infringement, and at best the calls demonstrated confusion as to the NAACP’s policy positions rather than any good or service. Policy stances are neither goods nor services, though the means of conveying them may be.
And from there we get to the key point. If the NAACP's position here were accepted, it would create serious problems that would come back around to likely haunt the NAACP itself:
Political discourse is the grist of the mill in the marketplace of ideas. It may be that the only -- but also the best -- remedy available to a trademark holder is to engage in responsive speech. For even where a speaker lies, “more accurate information will normally counteract the lie.”... The NAACP is a renowned civil rights organization with numerous mechanisms for connecting with its membership and the public. Organizations of its size and stature possess megaphones all their own. “Actual confusion” as to a nonprofit’s mission, tenets, and beliefs is commonplace, but that does not transform the Lanham Act into an instrument for chilling or silencing the speech of those who disagree with or misunderstand a mark holder’s positions or views.
On top of that, the court is perplexed as to how the lower court could possibly find a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the mocking article, considering that it was clearly mocking the NAACP, rather than coming from it:
It is not immediately apparent how someone would confuse an article which is strongly critical of an organization with the organization itself. The mark in this case was used primarily to identify the NAACP as the object of Radiance’s criticism, resembling a descriptive or nominative fair use albeit by employing a modified version of the name. Admittedly, the attention span on the Internet may not be long, but the briefest familiarity with the article would quickly create the impression the author was no friend of the NAACP. Indeed, in just the first two lines, the piece refers to the NAACP as an “out-of-touch liberal organization” and accuses its Image Awards of honoring “black imagery churned out by often racist, anti-Christian, perpetually sexist, violent and pornographic Hollywood.”
In short, being mean doesn't mean a likelihood of confusion:
Intemperate and worse as the commentary is, holding it actionable risks creating the paradox that criticism equals confusion, thereby permitting companies to shield themselves from adverse assessments.
It's disappointing that an organization that so relies on free speech decided to attack it in this case. While the court avoids having to take a First Amendment position, it's clear that the First Amendment is lingering behind the entire ruling:
Trademark law in general and dilution in particular are not proper vehicles for combatting speech with which one does not agree. Trademarks do not give their holders under the rubric of dilution the rights to stymie criticism. Criticism of large and powerful entities in particular is vital to the democratic function. Under appellee’s view, many social commentators and websites would find themselves victims of litigation aimed at silencing or altering their message, because, as noted, “it is often virtually impossible to refer to a particular product for purposes of comparison, criticism, point of reference or any other such purpose without using the mark.” ...The article in this case was harsh. But that did not forfeit its author’s First Amendment liberties. The most scathing speech and the most disputable commentary are also the ones most likely to draw their intended targets’ ire and thereby attract Lanham Act litigation. It is for this reason that law does not leave such speech without protection.
It's only unfortunate that the case even had to go this far, and that the district court got it so wrong the first time around.

Filed Under: first amendment, free speech, likelihood of confusion, ryan bomberger, trademark
Companies: naacp, reliance foudnation


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 11:41am

    NAACPS is not helping the cause with its actions. It should have laughed at the humor and moved on. At least it helped deliver a nice ruling on free speech grounds against IP.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      I don't think there's anything particularly funny or humorous about being in the sights of the Anti-Abortionists. People tend to get shot and blown up when that happens, (well in the US anyway).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 5:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Many consider them to be terrorists, but not the government.
        Why is that?

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

        • identicon
          Jack, 21 Aug 2015 @ 11:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Many consider them to be terrorists, but not the government.
          Why is that?

          Because, virtually none of pro-lifers kill people. That's why they're pro-lifers: because they want people to live. It's only insane fringe groups that blow stuff up.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 5:34pm

        Re: Re: Put things in context

        People tend to get shot and blown up when that happens, (well in the US anyway).
        Compared to 56 million (and rising) unique individuals sacrificed on the holy alter of women's rights? As a nation, you are probably only out done by the PRC.

        A consequence of the hedonistic society of the USA and you have the hide to criticise other nations. No wonder euthanasia is being heralded as the next best thing for society. Get rid of the aged, infirmed and disabled before they are a drain on society.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 5:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

          Look out everyone, he's got a bomb!!!

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 6:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

            Don't play with bombs anymore, they are just as likely to blow up in your own face. Unless you mean the old jalopy - well it's not quite a bomb yet.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 5:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

          56 million? Really ? to a source for that?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 6:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

            look it up yourself - just do a quick google search as I did. Though I did see a report recently that put the loss to the USA at a much higher figure, though I can't find that one at the moment.

            Or are you a candidate for termination because you are of low mental ability - I'm sure that if you put your hand up, someone will come along shortly to take you to the farm (you know those lovely little holiday camps where they dispose of people like you - or me for that matter, because we're not rich, famous or powerful or LEO's and only take up resources that rightly belong to the above rich, famous or powerful or LEO's)

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

            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 7:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

              First off im going to ignore that you addressed the ad hominim claim that anti abortionists tend to kill in america by performing a ad hominim attack on pro-abortionists. I would like to remind you that just because they did it, it does not make you doing it a correct debate tool.

              Now, i found a found a source for your claim. Dont know why I have to do your research, as in civilized debate it is good form to show your evidence. but i guess when the evidence is as flimsy as this, you need to make sure you aren't questioned. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/12/56662169-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973/

              So a "pro-life" group (National right to life) estimates 56 million abortions Total in america since roe v wade. I would link to the origuinal report but as you can see: http://imgur.com/8D2fpNK The '14 page' report is only a 2 page report with the data unreadable. So I have to work with the summary. It looks like they have used actual reporting data, so the numbers might even be in the ballpark. That still assumes that A) all those fetuses were viable, B)that all those fetuses would have made it full term and delivered successfully And C)that all those fetuses/children would have been properly cared for. Without solid statistics in this area we have no way of knowing if 56 million individuals were truly "sacrificed", and we know that not all of them were. Somehow in your head once there is conception there is an individual who will affect the world, but the honest truth is that studies have shown somewhere between 10-25% of confirmed pregnancies will fail. http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/getting-pregnant/miscarriage-demystified, but in america its probably something closer to 10-15% http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/pregnancy-loss.html

              So we can immediately reduce that number to around 50 million, which is still a lot, but 5.6 million individuals you claim were sacrificed were never to be born in the first place. and that ignores concerns that miscarriage and stillbirth could be more likely to occur amongst people whose economic and/or physical status is such that they do not want a child. for instance, a prostitute who gets pregnant and keeps it probably doesn't have the means to live to have that baby. And if she does, nothing guarantees that the abuse she takes wont cause a miscarriage.

              The point being that even if the numbers your report has are correct, they do not state the number of 'unneccisary' abortions or even the number of abortions that would have produced a child. they state the total number of abortions, and that is not the number of children "sacrificed on the altar of women's rights".

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 8:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

                I looked for sources too, I found 53 million (1973-2011) but didn't bother as it was on a Pro-Life site

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 10:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

                Thank you James,

                That is a response that says you are thinking man, even if one doesn't agree with your comments.

                My response to the previous AC was intended to take the mickey out of him/her/it. I wasn't debating him/her/it.

                Dont know why I have to do your research, as in civilized debate it is good form to show your evidence.
                In the case of such responses, I will normally take those who do it as being so profoundly ignorant that they need reminding that they can do their own research with little difficulty. I don't care what you are or what your belief system is, when you just give such a challenge without at least presenting (as you have quite ably done) a rebuttal to what is presented, you deserve the figurative smack in the teeth.

                Whether viable or not, I know how profoundly people are effected by the loss of their unborn child. When society as a whole gives blanket permission to the destruction of a new generation because of "women's rights" or "men's rights" then we are on the path to "no rights" for anyone other than those in power.

                My standpoint is that human life, at all stages, is precious. There are times for fighting to stop men and women who would destroy all others and with that at times comes the necessity of death (yours or theirs). However, as we can well see, society is moving rapidly to a point (worldwide) where human life is of no worth.

                So we can immediately reduce that number to around 50 million, which is still a lot, but 5.6 million individuals you claim were sacrificed were never to be born in the first place. and that ignores concerns that miscarriage and stillbirth could be more likely to occur amongst people whose economic and/or physical status is such that they do not want a child. for instance, a prostitute who gets pregnant and keeps it probably doesn't have the means to live to have that baby. And if she does, nothing guarantees that the abuse she takes wont cause a miscarriage.
                You say so casually, that 50 million is "still a lot". Yet we consider it a tragedy if a number of people (10, 20, 30 or more) get killed by LEO's.

                Yet most of the stillbirths and miscarriages that I hear about are in the middle socio-economic group. I know people and of people who are the result of an unsuccessful abortion attempt and they have led lives incredibly productive, even though one would consider theirs lives full of trouble and tragedy.

                Let me ask you a question, under what circumstances would you consider an abortion being necessary? A second question would be, of those who fulfil these conditions, yet went to term and had successful birth, what would you say of those children, should they be now terminated? These are serious questions because they dictate the quality of the society that specifies these things.

                The phrase "sacrificed on the altar of women's rights" is a commentary on the feminist viewpoint that women have absolute control and choice over their reproductive capability. They have taken unto themselves the "god prerogative" to determine what they do or don't do without considering that there are actual consequences to these decisions. It is no different to men taking unto themselves the "god prerogative" to determine what should happen to women (as chattel).

                Both are symptomatic of a failure in the society in question to care for and respect all members of the society. This is an incredibly complex set of questions.

                There are no simple human answers for the circumstances that people find themselves in. But if you lose sight of the preciousness of human life, you end up taking easy ways out. It is easy to get outraged and react violently, it is a lot harder to try and understand your enemy and then to reason with them.

                I can get just as outraged as the next fellow, but one needs to bring this under control and look more clearly at the situation at hand.

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

                • icon
                  Ninja (profile), 21 May 2015 @ 4:55am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

                  My standpoint is that human life, at all stages, is precious.

                  Your standpoint. I disagree vehemently. I see that it would be a cruelty to allow abortion after the fetus has developed a nervous system capable of experimenting pain in the abortion process. Anything before that is good to go.

                  You see, I don't like abortion for religious reasons (I'm catholic) but I also believe the Government should encompass everybody. Which means I do not have the right to make a law that robs women of their power to decide over their bodies. I do believe, however, that limitations must be imposed as I discussed above. "but, you are against abortion in your core values!" I hear you saying and I agree. I would do everything in my power to prevent a woman from performing such thing but ultimately it's her decision. The catholics could raise awareness to their cause and educate women on the many psychological and spiritual issues of performing abortions but that's as far as they can go. Instead of enacting laws prohibiting abortion we should be providing a social framework to support those women who do not want the children and make them feel comfortable to give the newborns for adoption instead of aborting. Along with safeguards (ie: compulsory sterilization if a woman keeps having kids and not wanting them and this too would need proper discussion as it's my opinion alone).

                  The phrase "sacrificed on the altar of women's rights" is a commentary on the feminist viewpoint that women have absolute control and choice over their reproductive capability.

                  Yes, they have. As a last resort if every other means of birth control fail they can abort.

                  They have taken unto themselves the "god prerogative"

                  You are placing upon them. Take God out of the context and it's just mundane birth control. Stop thinking with your religion or your morals and start thinking scientifically.

                  It is easy to get outraged and react violently, it is a lot harder to try and understand your enemy and then to reason with them.

                  You are doing precisely that. Y&ou are failing to understand what you see as the enemy (bad choice of words eh?).

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2015 @ 7:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

                    Thanks for the response.

                    I think the fundamental point of all of this is that there are consequences for the paths chosen. If a woman chooses that course of action, then there are consequences that she will face from her choice. It is not a consequence-free choice. I have heard the argument from those who whole hearted support the choice for abortion that it is basically consequence free. This mindset misses the salient point of free choice that there is always a consequence for your choices.

                    Yes, they have. As a last resort if every other means of birth control fail they can abort.

                    They have taken unto themselves the "god prerogative"

                    You are placing upon them. Take God out of the context and it's just mundane birth control. Stop thinking with your religion or your morals and start thinking scientifically.

                    It is easy to get outraged and react violently, it is a lot harder to try and understand your enemy and then to reason with them.

                    You are doing precisely that. Y&ou are failing to understand what you see as the enemy (bad choice of words eh?).
                    One, you have missed the meaning of why I used the phrase "god prerogative". I mean by this, that someone chooses to act as if they are the ultimate in authority (notice the little g) and that their choice is the only correct choice.

                    With or without God in the context, it is not just a mundane birth control means. It is a serious disruption to an already undertaken biological process and from my reading of the various techniques used, quite stressful (I am being understated here) on the human female body.

                    Science does not require me to give up any belief in God or to suspend my moral sense. It is one of a number of useful tools for my use.

                    I am not getting outraged, I am just sad that such choices are being made with no thought of the consequences to the people involved, the society that condones this method as a means of contraception or the loss of the unique lives that could have been.

                    The problem with being outraged is that you lose the ability to be Christ-like to those at whom you are outraged. Jesus Christ died for all of us, the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent. He did this because we can't and that there would be a way through Him to actually have a life that is worth living (or even dying for).

                    I understand many of the reasons that it is undertaken for and the individuals have to face the consequences of their actions. I will argue against the choice made, but ultimately their choice is their choice, not mine.

                    Whether you agree or not, I believe all people will stand before the great Judge and in that day each of us will have to face up to every decision we have made.

                    One can give warning, but if people don't wish to heed that warning they bear the responsibilities of their choices.

                    One thing I have learned over the years is that the Eternal God who created the universe and has invested everything in mankind through Jesus Christ, has given each of us one thing He won't take away from us and that is freedom to choose, either for Him or against Him. But He will hold us accountable for our choices and we will face the consequences that come about from those choices.

                    There is no problem so big that He can't handle. There is no crime so great that He can't forgive if one would but turn to Him. There is no prison so strong (of any sort, physically, emotional, mental, etc) that He can't enter and bring you forth from. There is no anguish or sorrow so deep that He can't lift you out of. There is no situation, condition, disease, failure, or anything else that we as human beings face in our lives that is so enormous that He can't conquer and be with us, if we would only seek Him and desire to know Him above all else.

                    Well, well, well, this has gone a different path than I when I first started writing this response.

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

                    • icon
                      Ninja (profile), 21 May 2015 @ 8:49am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

                      This mindset misses the salient point of free choice that there is always a consequence for your choices.

                      So what? I may choose to use marijuana like there is no tomorrow (where it is legal for instance). Sure I may become some sort of addicted zombie or have health issues in the long run but it is MY choice. I can make it even knowing the consequences. I can choose to go banzai parachuting even knowing that I may miss the parachute and die as a consequence. Same as many other things that one can choose to do that are totally legal and present serious consequences. This alone makes every other point you present null and void. What we must do is to warn the women that choose to go the abortion route of the many consequences and provide psychological support (in case of the Govt providing as it would be the case here) and wage awareness campaigns.

                      It is a serious disruption to an already undertaken biological process and from my reading of the various techniques used, quite stressful (I am being understated here) on the human female body.

                      So? This does not mean a woman cannot choose to undergo abortion knowing all these issues. If you choose to undergo a surgery to fix something that wouldn't otherwise cause any serious risk you are accepting the risk of a difficult recovery an possibly death. You can choose. That's the whole point.

                      Jesus Christ died for all of us, the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent.

                      An atheist couldn't care less. A Buddhist neither. I sympathize with this but I still refuse to impose it to others that chose not to believe.

                      In the end I believe we were arguing whether abortion should or should not be allowed by law and the clear answer is that it should be fully allowed and supported under any human law. I mean, not praying to Allah while turned to Mecca is bad for you so let us make this the law, shall we? Obviously not. So why are we meddling with the choices other people can make? Didn't God Himself bestow us with free will even if it ultimately led to a world of problems (bringing the discussion closer to your beliefs it seems)?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 8:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

          "the holy alter of women's rights"

          wtf does that mean?

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

        • icon
          Sheogorath (profile), 25 May 2015 @ 1:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Put things in context

          Well, 56 million deaths to safe abortion is preferable to over 100 million deaths to backstreet abortion. Or would you actually prefer that? Do your research, dipwad.

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

      • identicon
        Jack, 21 Aug 2015 @ 11:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Not really. Most of the time, the worst that happens is people peacefully protesting outside of buildings.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 12:20pm

    Free Speech is great!

    As long as you can only get it long after it actually matters.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 1:07pm

    The NAACP is not the only "civil rights" organization to claim trademark infringement on anything that even remotely resembles their name, especially anything coming from critics.


    Dear Sir/Madam:

    We recently learned of your newly formed organization from the Internet, and are writing to advise you that the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith has the exclusive right to use the name ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, and that this name is federally registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has achieved incontestable status.

    Courts which have had occasion to consider this question have all held that the coined term "Anti-Defamation" originated with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, that the phrases "Anti-Defamation" and the "Anti-Defamation League" have become inseparably associated over the years in the public mind with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, and that for other organizations to use these names would only lead to public confusion.

    One such opinion was handed down by the United States Court of Appeals in the case of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith v. National Mexican American Anti-Defamation Committee, 510 F.2d 1246 (D.C. Cir. 1975). In finding in our favor, the Court stated that while "the use of appellee of 'Anti-Defamation Committee' in aid of its identification is signally conducive to confusion with 'Anti-Defamation League' . . . proof of actual confusion is not essential to establish the right to exclusive use of trade names; probability is sufficient."


    http://www.zpub.com/notes/aadl-adl2.html

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

  • identicon
    TDR, 20 May 2015 @ 1:08pm

    Question: Aren't judges supposed to know the laws they're ruling on? If true, the case should have been thrown out in the first place.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      ha ha ha haaaaaaa

      What century are you living in? You will find judges stupid, ignorant, and corrupt.... not necessarily in that order.

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

  • icon
    cypherspace (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 3:28pm

    The EFF and ACLU submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff (Radiance). It's not as newsworthy as the ruling itself but it's further proof - as much as some groups refuse to acknowledge - that the ACLU will defend christians, conservatives, etc when their rights are infringed.

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

  • icon
    1st Dread Pirate Roberts (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 9:55pm

    D.E.M.O.C.R.A.T.S

    Demagogues Engaging Moronic Oblivious Citizens Regarding A Totalitarian Society (DEMOCRATS)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2015 @ 7:56am

    with the number of cases like this that are reported on Techdirt i have to ask is there ever anything done to the judges who make these disastrous first rulings? they cause hardship to the innocent party, both financially and reputationally that lasts for many months. even worse, the judge is free to make exactly the same errors next time he/she sits on a similar case and the whole cock up starts off again.
    when you consider we, the public as well as many companies expect to get fair treatment and justice when we go to court, it appears we are actually getting neither. so, is the judge 'retrained, as it were' or enlightened or what? surely there must be something done to prevent another travesty, isn't there?

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


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