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Submission + - Corporate bullying under investigation by USPTO (larisanaples.com)

Larisa writes: Last week, a small, Bay Area audio-drama group received two distinct, cease-and-desist letters from the National Association of Realtors, demanding that they waive their First Amendment right to the fair nominative use of the word "Realtor," in their satirical, Silicon Valley haunted office story, "The [BLEEP] & the CEO" (a note to Slashdot community ghost-hunters: this ghost story was a work of *fiction*). Lacking the financial resources to defend their legal rights against a major national organization, the audi-drama group has been forced to capitulate. But this is simply one case in point.

Corporate bullying of this kind has apparently become so commonplace that it has prompted the United States Patent and Trademark Office to undertake a formal investigation of: “the extent to which small businesses may be harmed by litigation tactics by corporations attempting to enforce trademark rights beyond a reasonable interpretation of the scope of the rights granted to the trademark owner” The results of the study are to be presented to Congress, upon the study's completion. The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s “Request for Comments on Trademark Litigation Tactics” will be open until February 7, 2011. Comments can be submitted to TMFeedback@uspto.gov, with the subject line “Small Business Study.”

Comment Re:Add: National Association of Realtors (Score 1) 299

Sounds so simple, but in fact would require a complete new production, and also a change in theme and plot, since the main indicator of the fallen CEOs' status in the world is their changing relationship with the Realtor.


The word "Realtor" was chosen *specifically* because the CEO must be dealing with the most prominent, prestigious, and prosperous type of professional in the field of real-estate. The CEOs essentially go from condescending to and blaming that top professional at the beginning, to begging her for help, to defeat the ghosts in the end. To eliminate the primary indicator of status change would destroy the satirical point of the piece.

Comment Add: National Association of Realtors (Score 5, Interesting) 299

They should add the National Association of Realtors to that list. They may not have signed the letter in fact, but they apparently support censorship in principle and action. The 800-lb legal gorilla of the NAR jumped on my own back, only yesterday. I set up a site for an audio drama I recently produced -- a fun little ghost-story for geeks, which happens to lampoon the Realtors and high-tech CEOs of Silicon Valley, whom we all love to hate. My URL corresponds to the Title of that fictional story, "The Realtor and the CEO" (http://www.realtorandceo.com). They decided that they did not like my using the word realtor as part of a literary title, and are now trying to coerce me into giving up the URL, the Title of the audio drama, and any reference to realtors in the story -- which happens to require eliminating or completely rewriting a main character. Seems First Amendment rights mean nothing, if you do not have a $100,000 war chest.

Submission + - The Companies Who Support Censoring The Internet (techdirt.com) 1

RichiH writes: Quoth techdirt.com: "A group of companies sent a letter to to Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE boss John Morton today (with cc's to VP Joe Biden, Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, IP Czar Victoria Espinel, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. John Conyers, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley), supporting the continued seizure of domain names they don't like, as well as the new COICA censorship bill, despite the serious Constitutional questions raised about how such seizures violate due process and free speech principles." A full list of companies who you might want to avoid buying from is included, as well.

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