This post has been updated.
Ready for Hillary has taken a cue from the NSA.
No, the pro-Hillary activists aren’t tapping your phones, but they are just as humorless as the spy agency when mocked. In November, we reported that the NSA and Homeland Security Department were none too pleased about parody products sold online using an altered image of their logo, such as a T-shirt with: “Peeping while you’re sleeping” inside the NSA seal and under that, “The NSA, the only part of the government that actually listens.”
The federal agencies demanded Web stores Zazzle and CafePress, which sell user-generated and customizable items, take them down. Then Public Citizen sued the government on behalf of Minnesotan Dan McCall, who designed and sold the NSA and DHS T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and other such joke memorabilia, for infringing on freedom of speech.
The government backed down and retracted their take-down letters. All was, as Attorney Paul Levy put it, “hunky dory.”
But now McCall, whose slogan is “freedom products for liberty lovers” is back with a new line that riffs on the Ready for Hillary logo, using the PAC’s three-starred flag and the same font with the words: “I’m Ready for Oligarchy.”
The Hillary people were not amused and sent Zazzle and CafePress letters June 1 alleging copyright infringement and demanding the products be removed. The sites obliged, and now Public Citizen is back on the case. Levy wrote to them, and on Wednesday, CafePress agreed “to reinstate the designs at issue.” Zazzle will not.
Levy sent a letter to lawyers for Ready for Hillary on Monday asking that they retract their take-down demand by close of business Thursday. “Absent a retraction, we will file an action for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, seeking damages for lost sales and an award of attorney fees for the issuance of a frivolous takedowns,” Levy wrote.
Late Thursday afternoon, with no word from the Hillary PAC lawyers, Levy said he was prepared to sue.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling. You’d think folks supporting a candidacy for president, you’d think they’d know better,” Levy told the Loop. “I feel badly, but I’m not going to let them take this protected expression off the market.”
We too reached out to the Ready for Hillary spokesman, but did not get a response. Now of course they are busy being roadies on Hillary’s book tour.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m. Friday: Levy informs us that at almost midnight Thursday Ready for Hillary retracted its demand that the parody items be taken down. Good thing, he says, because he had a complaint drafted and ready to file Friday in federal court.