Satirist Dan McCall battles Hillary Clinton PAC over "Ready for Oligarchy" design [IMAGES]
|This is the design that has McCall in trouble with a Hillary-supporting PAC.|
Earlier this year, Sauk Rapids satirist Dan McCall won a legal victory over the federal government after National Security Agency reps tried to get online retailers to stop selling shirts emblazoned with the the agency's seal and slogans like this: "The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens."
The NSA essentially claimed their logo is copyrighted and couldn't be used without permission, an argument that didn't pass muster in light of the First Amendment's protection of satire. Now, a pro-Hillary Clinton group is making a version of that same argument to once again get McCall's products pulled from stores. (McCall also sells his shirts on his own site, LibertyManiacs.com.)
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"It's a situation where, a little more than three months after we won the NSA case, we're like, 'Really, again?'" McCall tells us.
Legal reps for the Ready for Hillary super PAC sent two of McCall's biggest online vendors, CafePress and Zazzle, a "Copyright Infringement Notice" arguing that logos like the one at the top of this page are "synonymous with the Ready for Hillary political action committee" and "specifically created for Ready for Hillary's exclusive use." Though the letter only specifically refers to an "I'm Ready for Hillary to Explain Benghazi" bumper sticker that isn't McCall's creation, it was apparently enough to persuade both retailers to pull McCall's products too.
|McCall posted this summary of the spat to his Facebook page.|
That prompted McCall's attorney to write a letter to Ready for Hillary making this case (emphasis in the original):
Although the parody specifically cited in the letter was offered for sale by a different parodist, we can understand how CafePress would have assumed that your threat of litigation could have extended to McCall's materials, and how a court might later decide that the letter place it on notice of your potential claims against McCall as well. McCall concedes that he does not have your client's permission to use its logo in his materials; we contend that a parodist does not need permission.CafePress didn't need much persuading before deciding to resume selling McCall's Hillary products. In a letter written to McCall, CafePress's senior legal counsel writes, "Our decision to reinstate is based upon our concerns with the First Amendment implications raised by Ready for Hillary's notification."
"Commentary, criticism, and parody about politics, the political process, and political figures are given the highest level of First Amendment protection," the letter continues. "Further, speech conveyed through the use of messages on T-shirts and related items such as the bumper sticker about which Ready for Hillary has complained has long been held to be protected speech under the First Amendment."
But as of last night, Zazzle still hadn't followed suit, and McCall is threatening legal action.
(For more, click to page two.)