Free Speech or Trademark Infringement?

In this update: 1. WDC accused of trademark infringement in protest of court ruling 2. “Contract Sunshine” website mostly cloudy Free Speech or Trademark Infringement?

Email date: 3/16/10

In this update:
1. WDC accused of trademark infringement in protest of court ruling
2. “Contract Sunshine” website mostly cloudy

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WDC accused of trademark infringement in protest of court ruling
Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that corporations and labor unions can spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, the Democracy Campaign organized a protest that we called Citizens United Against Citizens United. We started an online petition and a Facebook page, and later helped organize a march from the State Capitol to the federal courthouse in Madison.

Yesterday a letter arrived by certified mail from a law firm in Virginia representing the Washington, D.C.-based interest group Citizens United claiming that our protest is an infringement on the group’s trademark. The cease-and-desist letter demands that we stop using the name and “destroy all writings” referring to it.

For more on this, go here and also check out our latest Big Money Blog.

The Democracy Campaign is assessing its options and plans to decide how to respond to the letter by the end of the week.

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“Contract Sunshine” website mostly cloudy
This is Sunshine Week. Knowing how government officials are doing the public”s business is every citizen’s right, and good sunshine laws are essential to making that right meaningful. But as an excellent article in the Appleton Post-Crescent illustrates, good laws are no guarantee that the light will shine brightly enough for the public to get a good look at how the government is operating and how taxpayer money is being spent. Those laws have to be faithfully implemented and rigorously enforced.