Issue 2 April 2012 OCCUPY BATON ROUGE OccupyBR.com
The biggest threat to paid speech is free speech.
EXCLUSIVE!!!!!!!! For-profit, self-appointed “Independent Voice of South Louisiana” apparently has area monopoly on [censored]ing censored BY BEN VITELLI Occupy Baton Rouge On January 23, only one day after the release of the first issue of Occupy Baton Rouge’s monthly newsletter “The People’s [Censored],” the OBR Censored email account received a message from the head editor of the [Censored]-the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, not the gay rights magazine (just so you’re not confused). An excerpt of his email: "While I am flattered that you have copied The [Censored]’s banner and, Censored to an extent, our standard front page design, I must ask you to come up with a new format for your newsletter. As currently presented, your newsletter could cause confusion among your readers that The [Censored] Censored newspaper and the Occupy Baton Rouge movement are somehow connected. I believe it infringes on our copyright and trademark. While we support free speech and free press, we also must maintain our position as a publication that is not aligned with any particular group or movement.” While it seemed almost impossible that anyone would confuse our online monthly newsletter with the Baton Rouge daily, one of our editors replied to their request, stating that though our independent paper was largely protected as parody, we would add a disclaimer to our front page. To be perfectly frank, we were a bit surprised the people at the [Censored] Censored were still aware of our existence, let alone regu-
larly checking our website and Facebook page for updates. Since our attempted “Move-In Day” last Black Friday, when half the Baton Rouge Police Department decided to use their holiday weekend and LSU-Arkansas game day to monitor the couple dozen protestors hanging out at Arsenal Park, there had been a considerable absence of coverage of our many actions in the [Censored]. Censored This is sadly the way the goldfishattention spanned mainstream media works, folks. Something is “In” for awhile—it’s fresh and exciting and new, and then suddenly The Next Big Thing comes along and whatever was so important three weeks ago is forgotten about and left by the wayside, continuity be damned. It’s a travesty, and it’s a phenomenon that unfortunately stretches far beyond the reaches of our friends at the [Censored]. Censored While we were initially somewhat thrown off by the [Censored]’s comCensored plaints against our paper, we found being back on their radar for such a trivial technicality slightly flattering. Our newsletter, which hadn’t been up for more than a week, was already receiving threats from high places. The common consensus amongst our members was that we must be doing something right if our modest efforts were still pissing off the Old Guard. Then, the following week, the [Censored] Censored attacked again. Our email account received a letter from someone introducing himself as a lawyer for
Capital City Press, the owners of the [Censored], Censored and was accompanied by a formal demand letter. The three page letter was a threat addressed to one of our members specifically by name. The lawyers spent a lot of time defining “parody” (as well as condescendingly referring us to the Onion which, apparently, is the pinnacle of parody) and ended with the demand under legal threat that we do the following: “(i) immediately and permanently terminating any further marketing, promotion and/or use of the term ‘The [Censored],’ Censored including any and all confusingly similar or related derivations of the mark; “(ii) immediately and permanently removing any and all references and/ or use of the ‘The [Censored]’ Censored trade name/trademark on your website located at http://occupybr.com/, including all associated webpages, and/or elsewhere on the Internet; “(iii) immediately and permanently terminating any and all further use, display, circulation or distribution of any promotions, advertisements, publications, content and/or marketing that includes any reference to ‘The [Censored]’; Censored “(iv) signifying your binding acceptance of these terms by signing and returning this consent agreement to undersigned counsel by no later than February 14, 2012...
With enthusiasm, a ‘yes’ for CATS
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Letter to the editor: Education reform
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Louisiana’s hidden state budget
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State classified employees’ lobbying rights
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What we’re watching: Freakonomics: The Movie
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☛ See CENSORED, page 7
The People’s [Censored] Censored is a publication produced by participants in Occupy Baton Rouge. The People’s [Censored] Censored does not—and could not—represent anyone except its participants. We are in no way affiliated with the [Censored] Censored or their corporate overlords Capitol City Press. The views of the authors are their own.