The US Chamber of Commerce has sued a group of online pranksters for trademark infringement, after these Yes Men floated a fake online press release that mimics the Chamber's website. The suit arrived on the heels of Chamber efforts to destroy the online release with a DMCA takedown notice. After receiving the notice, one ISP …
The takedown was wrong regardless of Yes Men's actions.
Even if the fake falls under trade dress or some sort of defamation tort (which it might), its still a violation of the DMCA to use a DMCA takedown notice for a purpose not related to copyright.
""There’s no way of signaling that it’s a parody." (on a computer)
... except perhaps by adding some text saying "this is a parody" somewhere not too inconspicuous. Or is there a <parody> tag?
For those unfamilliar with US law
The Constitution trumps all other law, even the DMCA.
The smokescreen about "transformative use" is just that, a smokescreen. The Yes Men are using the exemption of copyright for parody as it was intended and enshrined in law.
The US Chamber of Commerce is slitting their own throats.
"The Constitution trumps all other law"
You have been away a few years. Let me fill you in on a what happend to a certain piece of paper....
Protection of trademark is meant to stop people from pretending to be the owner of the trademark and imitate their products. The Chamber are twats.
What's the big deal?
All those who have no problem with someone posing as them and uttering lies in their name, please stand up.
These Chamber fellows....
..they're none too bright are they?
Anything you can do, we can do better ... to make matter worse.
Crikey, GB has a Manic-Depressive Sub Prime Parody of an elected Prime Minister pretending that he is running the country and saving the World and he's even feted, dubiously honoured and tolerated, and some would even say pimped by Uncle Sam. So why the clear double standards?
Moral rights in Copyright
Maybe it's different in the USA, but part of copyright law in Europe (The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)) is the right to reputation:
"The Convention also protects moral rights, giving the author of a work the right to claim authorship of the work and the right to object to any mutilation or deformation or other modification or derogatory action to the work which would be prejudicial to the author’s honour or reputation."
It seems to me that a parody that represents itself as the actual work of the parodied party would overstep this aspect of the law. The more convincingly it does so, the more would infringe.
I am not a lawyer. This is not advice. You have not been charged.
Is there any possibility that businesses will be tempted to join the Yes Men's fake organisation instead of the real US Chamber Of Commerce?
Is it possible that any current members of the US Chamber Of Commerce will be enticed or persuaded to give up their membership because of the Yes Men's actions?
Will the actions of the Yes Men affect the income and future profits of the US Chamber Of Commerce?
The possible scenarios above are the reasons for laws protecting trademarks. If none of the above are likely, then how can the Yes Men be said to have damaged the US Chamber Of Commerce?
THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. AS. BAD. PUBLICITY.
The yes men should be overjoyed by this- the very banning of it will ensure that it is always available on the internet somewhere
Hit me - I hit you harder.
I hope it does go to court
The defendants could answer every question with "When will the Chamber of Commerce start to act in the interests of the US citizenry and begin clamping down on environmental pollution?"
The case might not last a very long time but the Chamber would get so much negative publicity from it that they'd have to do something (or continue to look like even bigger fools!)
I would think that the very nature that it has been reported even mistakenly as directly from the Chamber of Commerce is enough to warrant at least some lawsuits that will probably stick. And yes, there are some businesses that may have made a decision to join or leave based off of this prank, as there are many out there that do feel rather strongly on these things. It can easily plant the seed of doubt for later as well against the Chamber's reputation leading to hushed rumors of 'how they really feel' etc. Pranksters can be easily forgotten (as I know I've never heard of the Yes Men until now) but the damage their pranks cause can live on. I hate to say it, I'm with the Chamber on this one, even if I dislike the misuse of the DMCA, they should have some recourse to have the site taken down.
**I am not a member of the chamber and don't care if they come or go, just looking at someone going over the line. Isn't it called Identity theft if I did it to you?**
Just goes to show
that much of the press have no idea of what is going on. If they did, they would have sent a theatre critic. Also, anyone who can't tell the difference between the real and the obviously fake url in this case, needs to have their eyes examined.
Great press conference, by the way. I like the part where the fake Chamberguy comes in and tries to pawn off his business cards. . .
Just how great are the Yes Men?
I love these guys. If you're not familiar with their work, google them - their lecture as a "representative" of GATT a few years ago was fantastic - proof that people will swallow anything delivered by a man in a sober suit.
Dr. Andreas Bickelbaum, I salute you.