Filed under: Cease and Desist
By Paul Hogarth
Regarding Prop 8′s failed attempt to take down our logo, Dante Atkins — friend of the Courage Campaign, and front-pager on Daily Kos — had this to say:
“The all-time stupid part is that they’re wasting time trying to get Courage to … stop using a parody logo. Even if they were successful and after a process that would resolve itself long after Perry ends, the only thing they would accomplish is to prevent the site from using a logo. And in the process, all they do is create more attention for the site.”
He does have a point there. The First Amendment is pretty broad when it comes to parody, so their lawyers should have known their chances at winning were slim to none. When you’re writing a book, the best way to boost up sales is to have someone file an injunction to block it from being published. I’m reminded of how Fox News sued Al Franken for Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, because they said the book misappropriated the term “fair and balanced.” Fox’s own lawyers didn’t want to file the suit, but Bill O’Reilly was so pissed off that he insisted they do so — all it did was make Al Franken’s book a bestseller. Certainly motivated me to go buy it. I mean, dammit … if people want you not to see it so bad, there must be really good stuff in there!
And it’s true. Our traffic hits went off the charts after this … thanks, Prop 8 campaign!
But that’s not how the opposition is thinking. See, I don’t think they really believe most of the garbage that they’re spewing out. The right-wing movement to pass Prop 8 — and other anti-gay amendments — are really part of a strategy to keep right-wing conservatives in power. There’s lotsa money to be made keeping the masses distracted by cultural, wedge issues — and to dredge up homophobia and malice against the “other” (in this case, gays) helps propel them politically. These folks have money to burn — where else do you think the National Organization for Marriage gets their money from, and how it just comes out of nowhere?
So a lawsuit to take down a logo on some website? Small potatoes for them — there’s more money where that came from. I don’t believe they’re even thinking about how it helps our website, and how we use this site to build community and a movement.
By Julia Rosen
Hot off the presses….
Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, a US District Judge just ruled against ProtectMarriage.org’s motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to take down our logo on the Trial Tracker. (background here and here)
Here is the key conclusion:
“[P]laintiff is unlikely to overcome the conclusion that defendant’s use of the mark is protected under the First Amendment, in that the use is relevant to an expressive parody and the use is not explicitly misleading.”
Our designer might quibble with this one, but the stuff about the First Amendment is pretty sweet:
In this case, the logo itself is artistic. Moreover, the broader website, while perhaps not artistic, is undeniably expressive of a political idea, and both political and artistic expression are protected by the First Amendment.
Obviously, we are thrilled that Judge Karlton thought they didn’t have a case. It’s what we have contended all along and why we have been mocking ProtectMarriage.com’s case mercilessly.
Now, this does not mean that the lawsuit has been dismissed. It is still pending, so this is not over. But we do get to keep our logo up for now and will continue to fight back against ProtectMarriage.com as long as it takes. They aren’t gonna bully us and we won’t let them turn themselves into victims.
I’ve uploaded the full ruling to Scribd so you can all see it for yourselves.
By Julia Rosen
Following on the cease-and-desist letter ProtectMarriage.com sent us last week, the Prop 8 attorneys filed late yesterday in U.S. District Court a complaint and temporary restraining order asking a federal judge to order us to take our parody logo down.
I guess we all know the answer to the question: Do they have a sense of humor or are they that offended by stick figures in dresses? (see background on this silly dispute here)
The Prop 8 attorneys have requested a temporary restraining order (TRO) prior to the full ruling. The case has been assigned to Judge Lawrence K. Karlton and we are currently waiting to hear back if he he has either granted the TRO, denied the TRO, or opted for a hearing about the TRO.
Our MoFo attorneys (the short-hand name our lawyers at Morrison Foerster go by) worked the midnight oil to prepare an excellent Opposition statement filed before the court. Short version: No fricken’ way we are taking the logo down. As our lawyer said, our logo is a “sassy” parody of their logo.
We continue to be entertained by the Prop 8 attorneys simultaneously admitting that the two images of gay parents and straight parents are “substantially indistinguishable,” and yet failing to grasp that that the difference between the logos illuminates the core difference between their views and ours. (more…)