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Sun Nov 3, 2013, 07:48 PM

NSA, Homeland Security issue ‘cease and desist’ letters to novelty store owner

Source: The Washington Times

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have issued “cease and desist” letters to a novelty store owner who sells products that poke fun at the federal government.

Dan McCall, who lives in Minnesota and operates LibertyManiacs.com, sells T-shirts with the agency’s official seal that read: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,” Judicial Watch first reported. Other parodies say, “Spying on you since 1952,” and “Peeping while you’re sleeping,” the report said.

Federal authorities claimed the parody images violate laws against the misuse, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, Judicial Watch reported.

Mr. McCall removed the items from his website, but he also has filed a federal complaint claiming the government is violating his First Amendment rights...


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/3/nsa-dhs-issue-cease-and-desist-letters-novelty-sto/

141 replies, 20144 views

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Reply NSA, Homeland Security issue ‘cease and desist’ letters to novelty store owner (Original post)
Indi Guy Nov 2013 OP
hobbit709 Nov 2013 #1
CurtEastPoint Nov 2013 #2
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2013 #3
treestar Nov 2013 #4
ForgoTheConsequence Nov 2013 #8
treestar Nov 2013 #15
ForgoTheConsequence Nov 2013 #18
treestar Nov 2013 #20
ForgoTheConsequence Nov 2013 #24
christx30 Nov 2013 #27
eggplant Nov 2013 #44
Swede Atlanta Nov 2013 #105
wildbilln864 Nov 2013 #109
wtmusic Nov 2013 #68
Uncle Joe Nov 2013 #111
alfredo Nov 2013 #19
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #21
alfredo Nov 2013 #23
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #30
alfredo Nov 2013 #31
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #32
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #53
alfredo Nov 2013 #56
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #59
alfredo Nov 2013 #73
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #92
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #96
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #75
cosmicone Nov 2013 #26
yourout Nov 2013 #52
jberryhill Nov 2013 #36
Towlie Nov 2013 #84
Enrique Nov 2013 #10
treestar Nov 2013 #16
ConservativeDemocrat Nov 2013 #46
reACTIONary Nov 2013 #48
treestar Nov 2013 #54
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #55
Katashi_itto Nov 2013 #102
christx30 Nov 2013 #112
Katashi_itto Nov 2013 #113
Psephos Nov 2013 #11
treestar Nov 2013 #17
alfredo Nov 2013 #22
jberryhill Nov 2013 #33
alfredo Nov 2013 #38
jberryhill Nov 2013 #42
alfredo Nov 2013 #43
jberryhill Nov 2013 #45
alfredo Nov 2013 #47
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #76
alfredo Nov 2013 #81
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #95
alfredo Nov 2013 #99
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #100
alfredo Nov 2013 #101
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #103
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #104
alfredo Nov 2013 #106
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #110
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #86
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #62
alfredo Nov 2013 #64
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #67
alfredo Nov 2013 #82
Humanist_Activist Nov 2013 #77
RitchieRich Nov 2013 #79
alfredo Nov 2013 #83
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #94
Psephos Nov 2013 #98
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #108
Psephos Nov 2013 #114
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #115
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #121
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #116
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #117
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #118
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #122
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #123
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #124
Deep13 Nov 2013 #12
alfredo Nov 2013 #25
Deep13 Nov 2013 #88
alfredo Nov 2013 #89
jberryhill Nov 2013 #34
Deep13 Nov 2013 #90
jberryhill Nov 2013 #91
Arkana Nov 2013 #93
Ash_F Nov 2013 #97
Jack Rabbit Nov 2013 #5
Journeyman Nov 2013 #6
dballance Nov 2013 #7
denbot Nov 2013 #29
Incitatus Nov 2013 #9
dballance Nov 2013 #13
marble falls Nov 2013 #14
alfredo Nov 2013 #28
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #60
alfredo Nov 2013 #61
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #66
Eleanors38 Nov 2013 #35
oNobodyo Nov 2013 #37
villager Nov 2013 #39
DeSwiss Nov 2013 #40
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #49
diabeticman Nov 2013 #41
christx30 Nov 2013 #58
Yo_Mama Nov 2013 #50
olddad56 Nov 2013 #51
47of74 Nov 2013 #63
allan01 Nov 2013 #57
1monster Nov 2013 #65
wtmusic Nov 2013 #70
1monster Nov 2013 #72
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #69
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #71
adirondacker Nov 2013 #80
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #85
adirondacker Nov 2013 #87
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #107
progree Nov 2013 #74
Pholus Nov 2013 #78
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #119
JackRiddler Nov 2013 #133
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #134
JackRiddler Nov 2013 #136
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #137
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #120
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #125
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #126
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #127
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #129
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #131
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #135
Incitatus Nov 2013 #128
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #132
yurbud Nov 2013 #130
bobGandolf Nov 2013 #138
Indi Guy Nov 2013 #139
bobGandolf Nov 2013 #141
Fearless Nov 2013 #140

Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 07:56 PM

1. A little touchy about the truth aren't they?

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 07:57 PM

2. Oh, FFS, NSA. Grow a pair, wouldja? Touchy much?

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 07:57 PM

3. I am sure he could make money by just using the slogans

and a big red NSA imprinted.
Lovely idea he has.
Japing NSA is an excellent tactic.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:04 PM

4. If they violate the laws

then what's the beef? Even the biggest Snowden fan should realize that people don't get to violate the laws based on their beliefs. Instead make these dummies new victims. They should have simply used a different design, rather than one that violates the laws. The laws do seem to make sense as we don't need any agency logo used where it's not really acting itself.

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:18 PM

8. Satire is protected speech.

Glad to know you're already on the case and have decided they broke the law.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:33 PM

15. It was clear that you can't use a government agency seal

that was not in doubt. But yet people are still acting like it's horrible to enforce that law, merely because they love Snowden. Who also follows the law only when he feels like it.

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Response to treestar (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:36 PM

18. So far you're the only person who has brought up Snowden in this thread.

I think you're a little obsessed.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:39 PM

20. That's just silly

We all know the outrage at enforcing this law is from the same ones who always support Snowden and NSA is the defining issue there. Your post is merely ad hominem. I'm not one obsessed with Snowden. I just think he should come back to the US and face trial.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:51 PM

24. We don't "all know" that.

You THINK that. Much different.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:59 PM

27. And I'm happy he poked the NSA in the eye

and I hope he is able to elude them forever, and continue to make them look like opressive fools. He's under no obligation to turn himself in. Any "damage" he's done is far less than our supposed leaders have done. If the US wants him, make them work for it.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:57 PM

44. Riiiiiiiight.

Because the government trying to ban a t-shirt has anything to do with Snowden.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 07:15 PM

105. You are entitled to your opinion but please do not

 

assert you know what "we" are thinking.

I for one of many consider Snowden a hero for exposing the egregious, out-of-control, unsupervised activities of our government that, in my opinion and that of many others, violate our 4th Amendment rights.

Why would Snowden return to the U.S. for trial? There is a significant body of evidence Manning was tortured by our government.

I wish Mr. Snowden the best.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #105)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 09:39 PM

109. + another! n/t

 

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:20 AM

68. +1

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Response to treestar (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 10:20 PM

111. SNL has used the Presidential Seal countless times in their skits.

There was no fuss raised about it even though some of those skits were critical of the sitting President.

The NSA has become too thin skinned in attacking a small business owner engaged in satire.

What would be a good or logical basis for having such a law preventing a seal's use for the purpose of satire?

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:38 PM

19. But the unauthorized use of official seals is not. It's like one of us using the

GE logo on one of our commercial products. Remember when the World Wildlife Fund sued the Worldwide Wrestling Federation? You have the right to protect your organization's trademark.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:47 PM

21. That is OUR trademark. And I think his is a far better use of it than it's official one. n/t

 

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:50 PM

23. From US copyright law.

§ 105 . Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works37

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:08 PM

30. Government of the people, by the people, etc. It's our US Government, too. LOL.

 


If the sneaky little bastards didn't want it made fun of they shouldn't be sneaky little bastards.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #30)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:10 PM

31. Oh sure, they brought the ridicule on themselves, but they have the right to

protect their intellectual property.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:16 PM

32. It's not theirs. It's ours. They work for us, and not as contractors either. And I get

 

your point about patent law. I also know we have had stupid laws throughout our history, and sometimes utterly cruel ones, so just because there is a law doesn't mean that much to me.

And I think I am going to buy one of his mugs for Christmas. And if I can't, I'll make my own.





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Response to alfredo (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:49 PM

53. Right - the seals can't be trademarked.

That's what the code section you cite means.

On the other hand, if a writer doesn't pay his taxes the IRS can go to court and theoretically get his copyrights, or a writer could will his copyrights to the US government. The government can acquire, hold and sell copyrights on private works, but the government cannot create copyrights on its own work.

The seals are not copyrightable nor trademarkable.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #53)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:55 PM

56. But if the creator of the seal transferred the rights to homeland security, then

they would "own" that work of art.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #56)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:03 PM

59. Trademarks and commercial use are inextricably entwined.

Here's the current US trademark law. Note that it starts out "The owner of a trademark used in commerce ... "

http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/law/Trademark_Statutes.pdf
You tell me how these seals are used in commerce? As part of the application one has to certify that they are used in commerce and specify the goods in connection with the trademark is used in commerce.

The t-shirt concessionaire does not own the trademark, so he cannot register it. The government cannot register the seal as a trademark because it is not used in connection with commerce.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #59)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 01:49 AM

73. Could the great seal in the logo be what is copyrighted?

https://www.dhs.gov/use-department-homeland-security-seal

Use of the Department of Homeland Security Seal
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal is protected by several sections of the United States Code (USC) and any unauthorized use is a violation of the USC, specifically Title 18, sections 506, 701, and 1017.

If you would like to use the DHS seal, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 282-8010, or you can e-mail branding@DHS.gov.

Please note, any approval of such request shall not constitute an endorsement by DHS of a requestor’s products and/or services.

NARA seals are protected too. http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/36/1200.4

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:43 PM

92. LOL! Your "ownership" of such a logo or seal is about 0.0000003%. Should you want to change

the statutes or regulations governing use of such logo or seal, you are free to lobby Congress for appropriate legislative relief or to file a petition for rule-making with the relevant agency, and should you fail to obtain the relief you desire from Congress or the agency, you may campaign to replace Representatives, Senators, and Presidents with those you consider more likely to share your views

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #92)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:47 PM

96. Fucking Congress works for us. So does everyone else up there. And I don't give a rat's ass what

 


their views are - they can be replaced rather quickly, or with slightly less trouble their principled stand can be purchased for less than a top of the line car.

And my ownership is the same as yours. I just choose not to accept that I just live on someone else's plantation.

ymmv.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #19)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:54 AM

75. Only when it leads to confusion about products and/or services...

 

satire, and commentary/parody is protected, otherwise documentaries like "The Corporation" can be sued for using multiple company trademarks, and many places that use satire and parodies can also be sued.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:54 PM

26. One cannot use the actual seal even in a parody

 

Last edited Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:26 PM - Edit history (1)

I wish he had altered the seal somewhat by adding a pair of binoculars and big ears on the side.

His slogans are funny and are protected speech -- just not the exact seal.

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #26)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:49 PM

52. Maybe even change it to...."U.S. Department of Homeland Scrutiny"

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:20 PM

36. A direct copy of the seal is not satire

 


The parody defense hinges on using only so much as is necessary to call to mind the target of the parody.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 01:43 PM

84. This should be protected by the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The law is pretty obviously meant to prohibit scams involving fraudulent use of government seals, but this is clearly a protest of government policy, and probably an excellent example of what our Founding Fathers intended to protect when they wrote the First Amendment.

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:23 PM

10. laws can be unconstitutional

in this case there might be a First Amendment issue.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:34 PM

16. It would make an interesting case

Though I bet that law would not allow you to use a corporate logo that way. So perhaps the government has the same protections.

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Response to treestar (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:02 PM

46. Actually, treestar, I don't think you're correct in this case

The law is clearly intended to attack misuse of government logos "with fraudulent intent".

If this guy were selling counterfiting kits, he'd be clearly breaking the law, but the law requires that the use be intended to deceive, and there is a good argument to be made that the guy making these are making a political point and no one could possibly be deceived.

It's the same exact way that U.S. entertainment can display symbols of the U.S. military or FBI in movies and T.V. programs. Nobody goes to a movie thinking that "Rambo" is a real soldier and is an official spokesman for the Army. But if FOX news put up a fake Colonel with a fake uniform denouncing Obama on one of their "news" shows, they'd be in a lot of legal trouble.

If this guy fights this, he'll win in the courts.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:27 PM

48. Exactly right. (nt)

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:52 PM

54. Yeah, I would agree there is no fraud intent

It's like they are clearly not the NSA itself.

But then you never know with juries.

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:52 PM

55. Indeed, indeed.

Of course he'll win in court.

Regardless of whether he would or not, why, when we are cutting food stamps to save money, are ANY government resources being devoted to saving us from the scourge of satirical t-shirts?

This is a guaranteed loser in the court of public opinion.

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 06:11 PM

102. Agree:

 

You’ll find that many public domain US government works have restrictions similar to this one, from NASA:

NASA material may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service, or activity, or used in any manner that might mislead.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use the material, even commercially. It just means you can’t mislead people into thinking that the agency is in any way connected with your use.

And don’t even think about using US government seals or other insignia without permission. (That should be common sense, though, right?) Here’s another statement from NASA:

NASA still images, audio files and video generally are not copyrighted. You may use NASA imagery, video and audio material for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits and Internet Web pages. This general permission extends to personal Web pages. . . . This general permission does not extend to use of the NASA insignia logo (the blue "meatball" insignia), the retired NASA logotype (the red "worm" logo) and the NASA seal. These images may not be used by persons who are not NASA employees or on products (including Web pages) that are not NASA sponsored. (emphasis mine)
That’s pretty clear, yes? (Although ... if material isn’t copyrighted, you should be able to use it any way you wish — so what’s with the “for educational and informational purposes” bit?) The bottom line here: don’t imply endorsement or sponsorship. it's satire. He'll win, not the Govt. Hope he gets a big settlement too.

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Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #102)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 10:49 PM

112. I agree:

as long as he makes it clear that not only does the NSA not support his products and do not give approval for them, he's in the clear. And he can use that in his advertising. "The shirts the NSA doesn't want you to buy!" He can put a scanned copy of the cease and desist letter on the page. He won't be able to keep them in stock. A good problem to have. I'll buy one.

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Response to christx30 (Reply #112)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 10:50 PM

113. We're in agreement then...good that's agreeable.

 

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:23 PM

11. Nearly everything Hitler did was legal under German law.

There is no law that Congress can make that supersedes the natural and moral right to free expression, as embodied in the Constitution.

I distrust people who do not question authority, especially when authority tries to silence critics.

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Response to Psephos (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:35 PM

17. Then they can make a case, I have no problem with that

Questioning authority it not an excuse for outright disobeying a law, unless you want to take the consequences.

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Response to Psephos (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:47 PM

22. It falls under the Copyright laws.

From US copyright law:§ 105 . Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works37

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #22)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:17 PM

33. No, it is not a copyright issue

 

There is another statute that addresses the use of official seals.

18 USC § 506 - Seals of departments or agencies


(a) Whoever—
(1) falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, mutilates, or alters the seal of any department or agency of the United States, or any facsimile thereof;
(2) knowingly uses, affixes, or impresses any such fraudulently made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered seal or facsimile thereof to or upon any certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper of any description; or
(3) with fraudulent intent, possesses, sells, offers for sale, furnishes, offers to furnish, gives away, offers to give away, transports, offers to transport, imports, or offers to import any such seal or facsimile thereof, knowing the same to have been so falsely made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered,
shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Your citation to the copyright statute is neither here nor there. There is no copyright in US government works, and highlighting the fact that the US government can own private copyrights assigned to it has nothing to do with agency seals.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #33)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:36 PM

38. Links

https://www.dhs.gov/department-homeland-security-intellectual-property-policy


If it is a trademark as they claim, they have to defend it.
15 U.S.C. §§ 1051-1129

http://www.bitlaw.com/source/15usc/1051.html

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Response to alfredo (Reply #38)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:42 PM

42. Trademarks and copyrights are two different things

 


I copied the relevant statute on agency seals above. That's what the guy is charged with.

You seem to be confusing copyrights with trademarks. They are two different things.

This is neither a trademark issue nor a copyright issue. The statute in question is 18 USC § 506.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #42)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:50 PM

43. The artwork in the trademark could be copyrighted by the author.

http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2010/08/12/trademark-copyright-and-logos/

"Copyright and Logos

In order for a work to have copyright protection, it must reach a requisite level of creativity. Many logos, however, do not. Since copyright can’t protect a name, colors or the design of the logo, most simple logos simply do not have the required level of creativity to be considered copyrightable. However, many ornate or artistic ones do.

And here lies the confusion with logos. Many of them actually qualify for both trademark and copyright protection. In fact, the entire Omega v. CostCo case hinges in part upon a logo stamped onto a watch being copyright protected (thus making the import of the watch a violation of the copyright).

In short though, if a logo would qualify for copyright protection as a piece of artwork separate from its use as a corporate identifier, it is copyright protected. Nothing in the law makes the two rights mutually exclusive so many logos can and are enforced using both trademark and copyright."

http://www.legalzoom.com/trademarks-faq/trademark-versus-copyright-protection.html

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Response to alfredo (Reply #43)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:57 PM

45. Which would be outright stupid in the case of government agency seals

 

Not for nothing, but I practice IP law for a living.

No, they don't hire someone to make official US government agency seals and then have the artist assign a copyright in it. Insofar as they are government works, they aren't covered by copyright. They ARE covered by the specific statute on point, in relation to copying US government seals.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:27 PM

47. Who created the artwork in the HSA logo? Was it contracted or in house?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:59 AM

76. Doesn't matter, it wouldn't be covered by copyright because its a product of the government...

 

any outside agency would have signed away any copyrights in the commission of the work.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #76)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:44 PM

81. Then that copyright is transferred to the new owner.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #81)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:25 PM

95. As far as I'm aware of, there is no copyright, works of the government are public domain...

 

seals and such are protected by particular laws not related to copyright law.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #95)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 05:32 PM

99. There had to be some legal basis for the cease and desist. It would have be stupid to act otherwise.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #99)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 05:56 PM

100. Not really, never underestimate the irrationality of large organizations...

 

whether public or private.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #100)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 06:07 PM

101. Don't think their lawyers haven't had some input.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #101)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 06:47 PM

103. Who said lawyers are smart?

 

You have to remember the OP, its a cease and desist letter, those are generally used to threaten, and IF followed through, will lead to a judge making a decision. Until that point though, we don't really know how valid the claim is. After seeing the shirts in question, I really don't see how any reasonable person can confuse them with the real deal, its pretty much commentary on the actions of the NSA.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #103)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 06:54 PM

104. And don't forget that the "complainants" in this case...

...have literally no sense of humor.

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #104)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 07:31 PM

106. Are they suing because of what was said, or the used of their logo?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #106)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 10:18 PM

110. I guarantee you that if logo was used for T's that put the NSA in a positive light...

...there'd be no suit. Do you agree?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #45)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 01:58 PM

86. Depending on the Agency, and the use it makes of the seal, there may be additional considerations

beyond trademark law. The seals for some federal agencies are protected by explicit statute. Other agencies have established regulatory restrictions of the uses of their seals. Some statutes instruct that the courts taken judicial notice of a particular agency seal, and some agencies use their seals as agency signatures authenticating documents

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Response to alfredo (Reply #22)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:12 PM

62. That doesn't apply, and fair use would be the exception even if it did

Seriously, when this is so obviously a work falling within the bounds of speech exceptions, why did the gov do this?

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/st_org/iptf/articles/content/2006011001.html

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #62)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:14 PM

64. So I could use the Presidential seal to sell condoms?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #64)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:49 PM

67. Yes, if the seal is a government seal and if the condoms were clearly a work of satire or criticism

or commentary. So presidentially sealed condoms sold under the brand name "Get fucked by the Chief Executive" might pass, because I doubt a credible claim of confusion could be made.

You could not if the presidential seal were private property. You could not if the condoms were marketed as the official presidential condoms in such a way that a reasonable person would believe that these were genuinely presidentially approved, issued or endorsed. Creating confusion as to whether the use is official is the key.

Even a privately owned mark may sometimes be used in satire, criticism or commentary if the owner is a public figure and the context is such that there is no confusion as to the purpose and message.

So, for example, if I had a business card printed up with my name or another name with the NSA seal such that a reasonable person could believe that the cardholder was indeed an agent of the NSA, that would be illegal misappropriation.

But if I had my name printed up with a seal and a clearly satirical job title such as "NSA, Director of Internal Security, with a large emblazoned motto "All your colonoscopy images belong to US". I think a court would hold that such use was entirely legal.

Thank you for the business idea.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #67)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:54 PM

82. I still don't understand how they can say it is protected under copyright law and trademark law?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 04:03 AM

77. Actually yes, and here's a link...

 

http://www.sayitwithacondom.com/obama-romney/

Look at what is used in the background of the packaging, etc.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #77)


Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #77)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:56 PM

83. There is no confusion about it being official.

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Response to Psephos (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:57 PM

94. Some might see more of a gap, than you do, between (say) a federal agency restricting the use

of its logo and (say) starting a world war or murdering millions of civilians in industrial-style death camps

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #94)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 04:37 PM

98. Some might even read the original post to which I responded...

...and understand that the line of argument concerns the dangers of blind acceptance of "legality," not the Holocaust.

But not you.

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Response to Psephos (Reply #98)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 08:47 PM

108. Oh, yah! That's exactly what happened in Germany! One day, they restricted the reproduction

of government agency seals, and that so enfeebled the country that just a few days later the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, giving the Chancellor dictatorial powers!

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #108)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 11:14 PM

114. Time to change your name to struggle4comprehension.

Camel. Nose. Tent.

They wouldn't have gone after this guy if he hadn't been making fun of them. Which reveals the actual reason behind this.


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Response to Psephos (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 11:20 PM

115. Indeed.

As I said earlier here, "I guarantee you that if the logo was used for T's that put the NSA in a positive light there'd be no suit."

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #115)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 03:52 AM

121. (1) The statute protecting the NSA seal is more than 50 years; and (2) the NSA claims

not to have contacted Zazzle since 2011





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Response to Psephos (Reply #114)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 12:40 AM

116. It's actually very common for Federal agencies to control use of their logos and insignia:

Seal and Motto
... Unauthorized use of the FBI seal (or colorable imitations) may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Sections 701, 709, or other applicable law ...
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/seal-motto

38 CFR 1.9 - Description, use, and display of VA seal and flag
... The official seal, replicas, reproductions, embossed seals, and the distinguished flag shall not be used, except as authorized by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary ... Any person who uses the distinguishing flag, or the official seal, replicas, reproductions or embossed seals in a manner inconsistent with this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions of 18 U.S.C. 506, 701, or 1017, providing penalties for their wrongful use, as applicable ...
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/1.9

Seals and Insignia
A Rule by the Small Business Administration on 01/11/2008
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is revising its regulations specifying the description and authorized use of its official sea ... SBA believes that this rule is non-controversial ... This rule is effective February 25, 2008 without further action ...
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2008/01/11/E8-338/seals-and-insignia

Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
Nicholas H. Steneck
illustrations by David Zinn
... The seal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authenticates this
publication as the Official U.S. Government edition of the ORI Introduction to the Responsible
Conduct of Research. Under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 132b-10, the unauthorized use of this seal in a publication is prohibited and subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each unauthorized copy of it that is reprinted or distributed ...

http://ori.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/rcrintro.pdf

FDA Logo Policy
The FDA logo is for the official use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not for use on private sector materials. To the public, such use would send a message that FDA favors or endorses a private sector organization or the organization’s activities, products, services, and/or personnel (either overtly or tacitly), which FDA does not and cannot do. Unauthorized use of the FDA logo may violate federal law and subject those responsible to civil and/or criminal liability ...
http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/AboutThisWebsite/WebsitePolicies/ucm218116.htm

The Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs
... The reproduction and use of the VA seal is specified by law (38 CFR 1.9). It is reserved for limited use as the symbol of governmental authority invested by the Department. The seal identifies all official documents, certifications, awards, publications, regulations and reports. Variation and modifications of the seal are prohibited. It is VA’s legally sanctioned official signature ...
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/vaseal.pdf

Use of the Central Intelligence Agency Seal
... Federal law prohibits use of the words "Central Intelligence Agency," the initials "CIA," the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency, or any colorable imitation of such words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency ...
https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/site-policies/#seal

INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998
<Page 111 STAT. 2248>
Public Law 105-107
105th Congress
... SEC. 503. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF NAME, INITIALS, OR SEAL OF NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE ... Subchapter I of chapter 21 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section: "Sec. 425. Prohibition of unauthorized use of name, initials, or seal: specified intelligence agencies ..."
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-105publ107/html/PLAW-105publ107.htm

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #116)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 02:15 AM

117. My statement had nothing to do with regs. Let me ask you...

...Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #117)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 03:37 AM

118. Perhaps you should read more carefully: statutes also appear in my links

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #118)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 04:11 AM

122. I posted this...

..."I guarantee you that if the logo was used for T's that put the NSA in a positive light there'd be no suit."

You responded with something non sequitur.

I asked you, "Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?"

You responded with something non sequitur.

I ask again -- Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #122)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 07:24 AM

123. FBI to Wikipedia: Remove our seal (2010)

Letter to the online encyclopedia says displaying the official seal on the site's FBI article is unlawful. Wikipedia says the FBI is misinterpreting the law.
by Steven Musil
August 3, 2010 6:03 PM PDT

... In a letter to Wikipedia (PDF) dated July 22 and posted by The New York Times, the FBI demands that its official seal be removed from a Wikipedia article about the FBI because the agency had not approved use of the image.

"The FBI has not authorized use of the FBI seal on Wikipedia," the letter said. "The inclusion of a high quality graphic of the FBI seal on Wikipedia is particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting" copying and reprinting of the FBI's seal.

The letter goes on to threaten legal action if its demand is ignored: "Failure to comply may result in further legal action. We appreciate your timely attention to this matter" ...


http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20012575-93.html

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #123)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 03:40 PM

124. That's all very interesting, and I'm glad to hear what the FBI (not mentioned in the OP) thinks, ...

...but what do you think? Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:27 PM

12. "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;...." nt

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:54 PM

25. It wasn't what he said, it was the unauthorized use of copyrighted material.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:18 PM

88. So, it was what he said (or wrote) then. nt

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #88)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:24 PM

89. It's not the text, it is the use of the seal.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:17 PM

34. So you can make fake currency?

 

How is forgery illegal?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #34)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:31 PM

90. Art. I, sec. 8, Congress specificially has the power to punish counterfeiting.

Sorry, I was assuming people actually knew something about the Constitution.

forgery is only illegal if it is fraudulent. the crime is the fraud, not the forgery.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #90)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:33 PM

91. And the guy is, oddly enough, charged under a counterfeiting statute

 

18 USC § 506 - Seals of departments or agencies


(a) Whoever—

(1) falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, mutilates, or alters the seal of any department or agency of the United States, or any facsimile thereof;

(2) knowingly uses, affixes, or impresses any such fraudulently made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered seal or facsimile thereof to or upon any certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper of any description; or

(3) with fraudulent intent, possesses, sells, offers for sale, furnishes, offers to furnish, gives away, offers to give away, transports, offers to transport, imports, or offers to import any such seal or facsimile thereof, knowing the same to have been so falsely made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered,

shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

-----

Note: that "or" is not an "and".

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:45 PM

93. They're not violating laws. They're making funny T-shirts.

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Response to treestar (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:52 PM

97. Why do you love the Republican dominated NSA so much? /nt

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:06 PM

5. "The only part of the government that actually listens"

Good one.

And now, General Alexander, may I ask how that compromised national security?

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:07 PM

6. Satire and parody only hurt when they reflect fundamental truths. . .

otherwise, they're deemed uncreative and beneath contempt.

Bit of a litmus test to gauge what is real and what merely illusion.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:16 PM

7. You can get the shirts at cafepress

 

Link:

http://www.cafepress.com/libertymaniacs/10128143

On Edit: I just bought a long-sleeved t-shirt. Go pound sand NSA. Your ignorance just made this guy a very rich man. Idiots.

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Response to dballance (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:04 PM

29. Just got the Navy Blue long sleeve T

The NSA is going to line this guy's pocket.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:21 PM

9. HA! I see a backfire

They just increased that guy's business revenue and attention to the issue by quite a bit.

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:31 PM

13. You are so right.

 

If they'd kept their mouths shut those would have gone largely unnoticed. Now, that guy will be selling out of those products very quickly.

When are these idiots going to get it? It's just like when Rick Perry complained about an editorial cartoon in the Sacramento Bee. I, and literally millions of others, would never have seen that cartoon if he had just taken the criticism in stride as a politician usually should and kept his mouth shut. It would never have gotten national attention if he hadn't let his tender little feelings be hurt.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:33 PM

14. The "We can't confirm whether we exist or not, but stop the copyright infringement," arguement.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:00 PM

28. Homeland Security Intellectual Property Policy. Link

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Response to alfredo (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:06 PM

60. The government can claim that it is G_d and that it has trademarked the sunset

but the claim won't hold up in court.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #60)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:12 PM

61. Has it been tested?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #61)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:32 PM

66. I don't think so

The NSA claims it didn't send any letters in connection with these t-shirts:
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/30/the_parody_shirt_the_nsa_doesnt_want_you_to_wear_partner/

The NSA does say the seals are protected by 86-36, but here is the relevant section:
http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/nsaact1959.htm
Sec. 15. (a) No person may, except with the written permission
of the Director of the National Security Agency, knowingly use the
words 'National Security Agency', the initials 'NSA', the seal of
the National Security Agency, or any colorable imitation of such
words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise,
impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner
reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is
approved, endorsed, or authorized by the National Security Agency.

(b) Whenever it appears to the Attorney General that any person
is engaged or is about to engage in an act or practice which
constitutes or will constitute conduct prohibited by subsection
(a), the Attorney General may initiate a civil proceeding in a
district court of the United States to enjoin such act or
practice. Such court shall proceed as soon as practicable to the
hearing and determination of such action and may, at any time
before final determination, enter such restraining orders or
prohibitions, or take such other action as is warranted, to prevent
injury to the United States or to any person or class of persons
for whose protection the action is brought. (Added Pub. L. 97-89,
title VI, Sec. 603, Dec. 4, 1981, 95 Stat. 1156.)


It's hard to believe that any court would determine that the mugs & t-shirts were "reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the National Security Agency".

Thus, such a nutty proceeding has never to my knowledge been attempted. Government seals, uniforms and so forth are used all the time in films, for example, without ever running afoul of such legislation. Fair use and constitutional first amendment speech rules add an additional level of protection against such claims.

A person who was selling, for example, Coast Guard caps for which he or she had not received authorization would run afoul of government regs, because such caps would SEEM to be official, i.e, approved, endorsed or authorized. In this case it would be unlikely that anyone would be confused, therefore there is no legal problem.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:18 PM

35. Government seals? In Minnesota?

 

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:35 PM

37. If this guy doesn't win in court I'll be shocked...

Since there is no mutilation, alteration or impersonation, that leaves only "misuse" but since the government is assumed to be publically owned (which is why a copyright couldn't apply, the rights by extension of ownership would be also granted to the public) AND his first amendment rights are obviously in play...This falls into the same category as attempts to ban flag burning.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:38 PM

39. Fascists don't like to be made fun of

 

Last edited Tue Nov 5, 2013, 08:51 PM - Edit history (1)

It's part of the personality disorder.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:40 PM

40. K&R

 


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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #40)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:41 PM

49. Or not. Maybe you have to speak clearly in order to get what you want...

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:42 PM

41. By my wife's thinking this would fall under Free speech-- 1st Amendment issue.

please enlighten us if we are wrong.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #41)


Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:43 PM

50. If people have the right to burn the flag, surely they have the right to parody the seals

politically.

What genius decided to do this, and has he/she been fired yet?

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:46 PM

51. Homeland Security, funny name...

For an government agency whose purpose to to make the people of our homeland feel insecure. Created under the Bush Administration. Okay, now it makes sense.

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Response to olddad56 (Reply #51)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:13 PM

63. As Robin Williams said, couldn't really name it Fatherland Security

 

Otherwise a bunch of old Germans would be saying, "Ja, that's very good!"

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:58 PM

57. re:. NSA, Homeland Security issue ‘cease and desist’ letters to novelty store owner

parody is proctected free speach.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:26 PM

65. Parodies are protected political speech. In other times, they would lose on this in court.

These days, though, it would be a toss up on whether or not it would be considered thus by our current Supreme Court.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #65)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:28 AM

70. Depends a bit on how obvious the parody is.

Is the parody part overshadowed by the legit part enough to fool people into thinking it's representative of the agency? If so, it probably wouldn't stand.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #70)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:33 AM

72. These don't sound like anything the NSA or HS would be printing on their Tees...

“The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,” “Spying on you since 1952,” and “Peeping while you’re sleeping,”

I'd say they are very obviously parodies.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)


Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:29 AM

71. A Federal agency probably has the right to control use of its seal as part of its property

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #71)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 10:43 AM

80. Good point! Think of what the Mitt Romney's of the world would do with that seal! nt

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #80)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 01:45 PM

85. It's very common for Federal agencies to control use of their logos and insignia:

Seal and Motto
... Unauthorized use of the FBI seal (or colorable imitations) may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Sections 701, 709, or other applicable law ...
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/seal-motto

38 CFR 1.9 - Description, use, and display of VA seal and flag
... The official seal, replicas, reproductions, embossed seals, and the distinguished flag shall not be used, except as authorized by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary ... Any person who uses the distinguishing flag, or the official seal, replicas, reproductions or embossed seals in a manner inconsistent with this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions of 18 U.S.C. 506, 701, or 1017, providing penalties for their wrongful use, as applicable ...
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/1.9

Seals and Insignia
A Rule by the Small Business Administration on 01/11/2008
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is revising its regulations specifying the description and authorized use of its official sea ... SBA believes that this rule is non-controversial ... This rule is effective February 25, 2008 without further action ...
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2008/01/11/E8-338/seals-and-insignia

Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
Nicholas H. Steneck
illustrations by David Zinn
... The seal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authenticates this
publication as the Official U.S. Government edition of the ORI Introduction to the Responsible
Conduct of Research. Under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 132b-10, the unauthorized use of this seal in a publication is prohibited and subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each unauthorized copy of it that is reprinted or distributed ...

http://ori.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/rcrintro.pdf

FDA Logo Policy
The FDA logo is for the official use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not for use on private sector materials. To the public, such use would send a message that FDA favors or endorses a private sector organization or the organization’s activities, products, services, and/or personnel (either overtly or tacitly), which FDA does not and cannot do. Unauthorized use of the FDA logo may violate federal law and subject those responsible to civil and/or criminal liability ...
http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/AboutThisWebsite/WebsitePolicies/ucm218116.htm

The Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs
... The reproduction and use of the VA seal is specified by law (38 CFR 1.9). It is reserved for limited use as the symbol of governmental authority invested by the Department. The seal identifies all official documents, certifications, awards, publications, regulations and reports. Variation and modifications of the seal are prohibited. It is VA’s legally sanctioned official signature ...
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/vaseal.pdf

Use of the Central Intelligence Agency Seal
... Federal law prohibits use of the words "Central Intelligence Agency," the initials "CIA," the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency, or any colorable imitation of such words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency ...
https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/site-policies/#seal

INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998
<Page 111 STAT. 2248>
Public Law 105-107
105th Congress
... SEC. 503. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF NAME, INITIALS, OR SEAL OF NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE ... Subchapter I of chapter 21 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section: "Sec. 425. Prohibition of unauthorized use of name, initials, or seal: specified intelligence agencies ..."
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-105publ107/html/PLAW-105publ107.htm

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #85)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 01:59 PM

87. I'm one that realizes the importance of not plagiarizing agencies symbols. Do you recall the

the geologists that were shot dead by pot growers in Hawaii after DEA agents posed as geologists for drug busts in the late 80's/early 90's?

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #87)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 07:51 PM

107. I actually intended to post #85 in response to the OP but evidently goofed

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:22 AM

74. Does the Moon family still own the Washington Times? Is Judicial Watch still an ultra-conservative

organization?

Late Breaking News rules include this: "Post the latest news from reputable mainstream news websites and blogs. "

But oh well. If it sounds good, post it anyway. No chance of any misleading half-truths or anything like that from a paper owned by such a fine religious organization.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Times

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Watch

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Response to progree (Reply #74)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 07:37 AM

78. The Moonie Times missed the real story (heard it last summer). The news is the guy sued back...

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 03:45 AM

119. National Security Agency Act of 1959 (Public law 86-36)

... Sec. 15. (a) No person may, except with the written permission of the Director of the National Security Agency, knowingly use the words 'National Security Agency', the initials 'NSA', the seal of the National Security Agency, or any colorable imitation of such words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the National Security Agency ...

http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/nsaact1959.htm

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #119)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 10:21 PM

133. Fuck the National Security Agency Act of 1959.

 

Says the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Fuck the NSA. Fuck their unconstitutional total surveillance state.

Shame on you and your authoritarian citation of an inapplicable law.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #133)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 11:13 PM

134. Don't smoosh everything together and swirl it about into an inedible mess

That doesn't really win political fights and it doesn't produce stable compromises: you may get short-term gains but the long-term effect won't be to your liking -- because what actually happens is that ever-larger segments of the public conclude that SmoosherSwirler really can't think very clearly

There's nothing wrong with an agency restricting close reproduction of its logo. Such a restriction doesn't prevent anyone at all from criticizing the agency or parodying the agency. In some cases, arguing for unfettered reproduction of an agency logo as a free speech issue rather resembles arguing that forging names on checks should enjoy first amendment protections, because some agencies use their logos as equivalent to actual signatures which receive official notice in a judicial setting

Since many agencies restrict logo reproduction, it is an extraordinarily poor idea to use this matter as a surrogate for other serious concerns you may have regarding the NSA or (say) the National Security Agency Act of 1959: it distracts from more serious issues, to which it bears little relation; a serious fight over this issue would ultimately involve most federal agencies; and you would lose without accomplishing anything of value

The quality of your current thinking is, sadly, rather clearly exposed by the fact that you think agency control of its logo reproduction has anything whatsoever to do with surveillance issues or that you think one can identify people as "authoritarian" or "non-authoritarian" based on their stances towards the issue of agency rights to control close reproduction of agency logos.reproduction

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #134)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 04:45 PM

136. Fuck the National Security Agency Act of 1959.

 

I'll smoosh what I like and I'll be the judge of the political effects. All I ever see from you is lengthy sophistry and distraction making excuses for the most authoritarian, odious and destructive institutions within the state, and attacking those who stand up to those institutions.

This thread is about how the NSA, an illegitimate, authoritarian total surveillance agency that claims unconstitutional powers, is trying to squash a small merchant for a parody product.

Why would anyone, seeing that, respond by digging up some irrelevant citation from the National Security Agency Act of 1959? Are you their lawyer? Your choice is clothed in reasonableness but this can't disguise that it comes either from a) a pathological distortion of your priorities, such as a need to defend a position at all costs, or b) a more direct agenda to defend said illegitimate, authoritarian total surveillance organization, no matter what the issue.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #136)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 05:22 PM

137. Enjoy mucking your way through the bogs and swamplands! And good luck having any real effect!

I suppose if you ever were to decide you wanted to do something with actual long-term prospects for successful change, you might then start factually analyzing actual structures of power and would then discover that the structures have very little to do with whether or not federal agencies send occasional letters to prevent unauthorized logo reproduction

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 03:48 AM

120. ... the Zazzle team wasn't a fan, apparently, and they removed McCall's NSA-themed products

from the marketplace. Zazzle said the products, "contained content which infringes upon the intellectual property rights of National Security Agency," and claimed they were contacted by NSA lawyers ... McCall's ordeal played out almost identically to Gawker writer Max Read's attempt to market and sell T-shirts with NSA-related logos through Zazzle. Read made a few T-shirts and mugs with the PRISM logo shortly after the scandal first broke. But, almost immediately, Zazzle removed the products because Read was allegedly violating intellectual property rights. At the time, Zazzle didn't explicitly acknowledge getting contacted by NSA lawyers ... But the agency never directly commented on the shirt scandals until Friday ... But then the second message came ...

NSA has not sent a cease and desist letter to Zazzle since March 2011 regarding a mug they were selling using the NSA Seal. At any time that NSA is made aware that the NSA Seal is being used without our permission, we will take appropriate actions ...


http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2013/08/nsa-doesnt-mind-parody-t-shirts-after-all/68933/

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 05:16 PM

125. Copyright and Other Rights Pertaining to U.S. Government Works

... You cannot use U.S. government trademarks or the logos of U.S. government agencies without permission. For example, you cannot use an agency logo or trademark on your social media page ...

http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #125)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 05:22 PM

126. Yeah, you've expressed that already...

...but you still haven't answered my question. Once again:

Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #126)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 06:30 PM

127. Let's review what we know: (1) the NSA does not appear to have contacted McCall directly;

(2) the NSA did contact Zazzle directly, once, two and a half years ago, to insist that Zazzle not sell merchandize containing the agency logo, citing the National Security Agency Act of 1959 as prohibiting such activity; (3) similarly, the DHS contacted Zazzle, over two years ago, to insist that Zazzle not sell merchandize containing the agency logo; (4) Zazzle subsequently refused to allow some of McCall's products to be merchandized at the Zazzle website;

(5) McCall certainly has a clear free speech right to parody or lampoon federal agencies and in particular has a clear free speech right to market products that obviously criticize or satirize such agencies; (6) various agencies are recognized to have the authority to control the reproduction of their logos under a variety of laws and statutes, since (for example) an agency may have intellectual property rights in a logo, or may use such a symbol as judicially recognizable certification that the agency has authorized whatever the logo appears on; (7) reproduced modifications of agency logos become more clearly protected as free speech as the modifications become more obvious and become more clearly unprotected as the modifications become less obvious; (8) McCall has no right to reproduce and distribute the intellectual property of such agencies or to reproduce and distribute materials bearing unmodified logos that such agencies use as certifications of authenticity; (9) one issue with McCall's merchandize will be the question, whether his modifications of agency logos are sufficiently evident to prevent confusion among any discernible fraction of the public about the authenticity of a product that may otherwise appear to have been authorized by a federal agency;

(10) as the agencies contacted Zazzle, rather than McCall himself, and as it is Zazzle, rather than a federal agency, that has removed the products from the Zazzle site, any proper action by McCall may lie against Zazzle rather than against the federal government; (11) McCall's free speech rights do not include a general right to have his products marketed through any particular private website, and free speech arguments cannot compel Zazzle to help McCall market his products; (12) Zazzle, in deciding whether or not to allow certain products on its website, is not obliged to follow any directions contained in a letter from a federal agency but is free to consult with its own lawyers in the course of deciding whether or not to concur with the opinion expressed in such federal agency letter and in the course of deciding whether to contest any proposed federal action;

(13) McCall will not have a recognizable action against the agencies unless the agencies are found to have acted in egregious violation of law or in a manner singularly prejudicial to McCall; (14) action by an agency, allegedly to protect the integrity of its standard uses of a logo or to protect its rights under specific statute, will be countenanced the courts in almost automatic manner, unless the plaintiff is able to establish by clear evidence a contrary, illegal, and prejudicial motive; (15) a mere contrary opinion alone, as to the motive of an agency, will not be considered judicially as clear evidence of agency malfeasance

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #127)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 06:40 PM

129. I didn't say that the NSA reprimanded the vendor.

So let me rephrase, and I'm asking for your opinion here:

Do you believe that this vendor would have been smacked down by the DHS if he'd painted the NSA in a favorable light (all other circumstances being equal)?

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #129)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 08:07 PM

131. um ... I've already explained my opinion to you in great detail

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #131)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 02:49 AM

135. Aside from answering my question, you've expressed your opinion voluminously.

Either you agree that the vendor would not have been sanctioned by the DHS if he'd shown the NSA in a favorable light, or you don't. It's a yes or no question, but I'll let you off the hook here because I'm tired of this game and it's clear that you're afraid to answer honestly.

Personally, I think you're afraid to answer because you actually agree with my assertion that no one would have bothered this man if his products were friendly to the NSA. I think this is pretty much a no-brainer. (...I appreciate your honesty though, in that you chose to avoid the question, rather than lie.)

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #125)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 06:33 PM

128. Simple solution then.

He can use his slogan and make his own version of the seal and he still gets all the free attention.

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #128)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 10:10 PM

132. that is absolutely right

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 07:16 PM

130. the store should thank them for the free advertising.

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 05:22 PM

138. Glad he tickled their funny bone n/t

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Response to bobGandolf (Reply #138)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 06:11 PM

139. Now that's funny.

Last edited Thu Nov 7, 2013, 04:28 AM - Edit history (1)

Somehow, people with no sense of humor are sometimes funnier than those who do -- and the spooks appear to have no sense of humor whatsoever (except for maybe their own inside jokes).

This story is reminiscent of an episode of "Get Smart."

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Response to Indi Guy (Reply #139)

Thu Nov 7, 2013, 05:26 PM

141. No kidding!

The problem is...they have a lot of power to toss around to make people miserable.

Get Smart rocks!

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Response to Indi Guy (Original post)

Wed Nov 6, 2013, 06:53 PM

140. There's nothing worse than an asshole except an overly sensitive asshole

(And I do mean the NSA just to be clear.)

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