Poll: Are Items Mocking the NSA and DHS Free Speech or Copyright Infringement?
As logo-selling professionals, you're familiar with copyright, intellectual property and trademark laws. Getting the proper licensing rights takes more time before a promotion, but prevents major headaches (and potential lawsuits against your client and you) after the logos are printed. Still, even when you think you are within your rights, things can go wrong.
That's what happened to LibertyManiacs.com, a website that sells cheeky, government-mocking apparel and hard goods. The company has been creating wearables and products with edited government logos and satirical slogans since 2003. The company received multiple letters from the DHS and the NSA demanding removal of the items mocking both organizations, but the items are still on the site (now in special sections called Censored by the NSA and Censored by the DHS). Liberty Maniacs filed a lawsuit stating that the items do not violate copyright laws and that the DHS and NSA are inhibiting free speech by demanding the removal of the products. (For more information on the lawsuit, look here and here.)
Since promotional products distributors are experts on logo use, we want to hear your opinion. Where do you fall on this issue? Is Liberty Maniacs using free speech by altering government logos or are the NSA and DHS correct in their conviction that the company is infringing on copyright laws? Let us know in the poll and in the comments section below.