I stumbled across this story over at Boingboing. Blogger Scott Beale at Laughing Squid got himself in hot water with Best Buy’s lawyers for posting on a parody shirt. The shirt, shown above, features the ‘likeness’ of the Best Buy logo tag. Scott received a cease and desist letter for merely posting on someone elses shirt. Seriously. You can read the letter on his site. Best Buy lawyers initially claimed he was ‘promoting’ the shirt, which they deemed to be an infringement upon their copyright and trademarks. Fortunately after a little back and forth their lawyers issued an apology to Scott stating that while they object to the unauthorized use of their logo, they ‘respect the First amendment rights’ of bloggers.
A revised version of the shirt is for sale at Neighborhoodies. It looks like they’ve removed the yellow color on the tag – likely to keep themselves out of further legal trouble. $5.99. View the original Laughing Squid post and the yellow tag version of the shirt here.
Pretty lame misstep on Best Buy’s part. Regardless of issues of fair use, a cease and desist for mere reporting on an event is absolutely ridiculous. No doubt the original prank pulled off by Improv Everywhere (which featured the shirts in question) was covered by countless local newspapers and television stations. Did they receive cease and desist letters for reporting the news? Somehow I don’t think so.