Mar 28

First Amendment 1, Wal-Mart 0

In case you missed it, there was quite a spectacular discussion on my post from the other day that included a youtube video by Phil DeFranco urging everyone to boycott Wal-Mart.

A local blogger who was a personal acquaintance of mine, completely shit the bed and accused me of “ignorance,” stating that it was “Sad when people criticize a company they know nothing about.”

*ahem*

He also complains that none of my Wal-Mart posts contain any source information or facts to back up my arguments. Never minding the fact that the post he was commenting on clearly contained a link to a CNN article about the poor woman that is being forced to hand over her $470,000 settlement to a company that makes 90 BILLION dollars every quarter.

In the ensuing ruckus, he managed to clearly imply that I am also a hypocrite for denouncing the WalMart* corporation, and then posting Friday Hotness photos which some how supports the porn industry which is just as evil.

*scratches head*

You can read the entire exchange on the original post, but it basically ended with this blogger IM Bombing** me with:

10:25 soundwavematthew: You know, Jester, I used to think you were a good guy. Now I see you’re a pompous, self-righteous asshole.
10:25 soundwavematthew disconnected

I really only mention this because another Wal-Mart article came across my feed reader today that gives me a smug sense of satisfaction, even if it is over a relatively small issue: copyright and trademark infringement.

From The Public Citizen(look there! Another link to a source!):

WalOCaust

[Charles] Smith, a Conyers resident, created designs critical of Wal-Mart that merged Wal-Mart’s name with the word “holocaust” and a star, and arranged for CafePress.com, a California company, to put the design on T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and other items for sale that he sold on the Internet. Smith reserved the domain name and arranged for his items to be sold on CafePress.com.

In December 2005, Wal-Mart sent a letter and e-mail to Smith asserting ownership of trademarks in the name Wal-Mart, the star and the “smiley face” the company uses. The company threatened to sue Smith for infringing and diluting its trademarks and demanded he stop selling his items. Wal-Mart also demanded that Smith stop using the domain name “walocaust.com” and transfer it to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart made a similar threat to CafePress.com, which immediately stopped making and selling Smith’s items.

From Citizen Vox.Org (Oh lord! Another one!):

[Today] a federal judge told Wal-Mart that nobody in their right mind would buy their trademark infringement claims.

Political and social parody, like the type Charles Smith of Conyers, Ga. uses at his www.walocaust.com and www.walqaeda.com sites, is a cherished tradition that goes back to the founding of this country. If Wal-Mart had won, think of the impact the ruling might have had on blogs, artists, photographers and writers who use parody to criticize companies.

In other words, big corporations do not have the power to suppress the free speech of citizens by attempting to stop the use of their “trademarks” in parody or critical works.

Which means CafePress needs to let me sell my Shitty Coffee tee shirts again.

Life is Too Short To Drink Shitty Coffee

* I realize that I switch between several variations of the name WalMart, some hyphenated, some not, some spaced, some not. That’s so ALL the possible combinations can be found by the Google, not because I’m mental.

** The IM Bomb is the online equivalent of slamming a door, or hanging up the phone before you give the other party the opportunity to respond. It’s high on my list of pet peeves, along with being patronized, having my intelligence questioned, or being called a hypocrite. Radio Matthew was batting 75%.

Feb 21

A Word of Caution

In my efforts to create the “rear-ended” bumper sticker from my last post, I also created another design that I thought was a little more “globally acceptable.”

I uploaded the image to CafePress to create the stickers, and almost immediately the image was flagged as being a “possible violation of the Content Usage Policy.” This meant that I could not create any products using the design. There was no indication that it was merely ‘pending review’ by any further CafePress team members. I was directed to read the “CUPS” and change my image accordingly.

Here’s the image in question:

Brake Bumpersticker

I immediately wrote the company requesting further information on what possible copyright I could be infringing.

I received the following response:

With regard to your pending image, we have set the image to pending status due to the use of the term “caution” in your design. In accordance with our Intellectual Property Rights Policy, the owner of the “Caution” trademark, has notified us that the use of the word “Caution” in product titles, product descriptions and/or in products potentially infringes upon the “Caution!” trademark.

Although we are not in agreement with all of the contentions, we are not in a position to evaluate the merits of an infringement claim made against you by a third party. In order to best protect ourselves from risk, we must take all allegations of infringement seriously and take action in removing the content from our site.

Accordingly, images which utilize the “Caution!” trademark have been set to “pending status” which disables said content from being displayed in your shop or purchased by the public. You may review the content set to pending status by logging into your CafePress.com account and clicking on the “Media Basket” link. The content set to pending status will be highlighted red.

If you believe that you hold the rights to the content alleged to infringe the rights of the third party, we encourage you to contact the alleged rights holder directly for a resolution to this matter. Below please find the contact information for the party bringing this allegation of infringement to our attention.

Caution Brand Apparel
P.O. Box 4802
Covina Ca 91723
legal@cautionwear.com

We apologize for any inconvenience that our actions may cause you. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with the idea that the word “Caution” can be trademarked. You’ll notice that I have no exclamation mark on my image. If you go to the Cautionwear website, which by the way leaves a LOT to be desired, you’ll see these examples of their logos:

Caution 1

Caution 2

I’m not an expert, but I don’t see a similarity between their logo and mine. The only conclusion I can reach is that the WORD itself has now been trademarked. Here’s a screenshot of their site confirming this conclusion:

Caution Underwear page

If you haven’t already noticed, I’d like to point out the first product that is listed on this particular page:

Scratch and Sniff Underwear

So if you’re following along, you’ll see that the word “Caution” has been trademarked by a company that makes and sells “Scratch-and-Sniff Underwear.”

If anything ever needed a caution sticker, it would be scratch-and-sniff underwear.

So in the spirit of commercialism and profiteering, I’d like to offer the following list of words that I wish to declare my own registered trademarks:

  • Danger
  • Bigot
  • Gay
  • Sex
  • Ahead
  • Any
  • One
  • Notice
  • The
  • First
  • Four
  • Words
  • Made
  • A
  • Funny?

Make your checks payable to Paul Harris. I also accept Paypal.

Oh, and in the spirit of non-infringement, I altered the bumper sticker design. Get yours now at my CafePress store.

Brake Bumpersticker

Nov 19

Sad

Atomic Tumor’s wife died. The announcement was made yesterday.

There is a memorial fund set up, you can find more information on his site, or you can purchase a “Nothing to Fear” item from my cafepress store, and I will forward the profits to the fund.

Nov 16

Donations to Atomic Tumor

Nothing to Fear ShirtI’ve put a design up on my cafepress store and will be sending the profits from the sale of the “Nothing to Fear” design to Atomic Tumor to help offset the financial burden of his wife’s treatment.

If you haven’t been keeping up, he has been using the phrase, “Nothing to Fear, Nothing to Doubt” as his personal mantra throughout this ordeal. If you are feeling generous, stop and buy something.

Nov 14

More Shameless CafePress Plugging

I’m having a blast creating new designs for my CafePress store, as I’m sure you can see. I’ve got a huge list of ideas for funny shirts, I don’t know if anyone else will like them, but I’m having a great time.

Enjoy!
Fairy Wings
B is For
Show Me Your Cock
balls