Lactivist Blogger Attacked By The National Pork Board

This is one of those stories I could not make up. Here’s a quote from the Lactivist:

Yep, you read that right. The Lactivist is being threatened with a lawsuit.

Why? Because I was selling a shirt that said “the other white milk.”

First, a little background if you’re new to the site. The Lactivist is a blog about breastfeeding and human milk banking. It’s mostly a gathering place for breastfeeding moms to come and share their thoughts and experiences and to keep up to date on the latest issues in the fight for the rights of a child to eat in public. To help fund the site (and to raise money for the non-profit milk banks) I have a CafePress store that sells t-shirts with funny pro-breastfeeding slogans. Things like “Milk on Tap” and “That’s my baby’s lunch you’re staring at.”

Thus…the shirt that read “the other white milk.”

I received a letter this morning from Jennifer Daniel Collins, an attorney at Faegre & Benson that represents The National Pork Board. It stated, for the most part, that my use of the phrase “the other white milk” violates their trademark on the phrase “the other white meat.” As such, they’ve demanded that I remove the shirt, demanded that the image of the shirt be removed from any site I know of, demanded that I destroy any shirts that exist with the logo and demand that I not at any point in the future use the phrase in a commercially profitable way.

This makes me want to give up bacon and ham, and pork is damn near my favorite meat.

Please read the entire post, and the subsequent post, which seems a little more optimistic. The Lactivist is getting an apology, but they are still trying to “work through the issues.” Go over and show your support!! This is one of the most ridiculous threatened lawsuits I’ve ever heard about.

Thanks to The Anti-essentialist Conundrum for the heads up.

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2 Responses to Lactivist Blogger Attacked By The National Pork Board

  1. 1
    Angiportus says:

    Oh, this hacks me off no end. Parody is not the same as full imitation…and these big companies think they made the universe. Even if someone momentarily mixes up the 2 similar slogans, it isn’t that hard to untangle them. Aaaaugghhh. I hope the Lactivist can stand up to these playground bullies writ large. Even if I prefer the one about “my baby’s lunch”.

  2. 2
    Decnavda says:

    This is sadly typical of corporate intellectual property lawyers. One of my favorite stories of this knee-jerk intimidation tactic is from Mad Magazine. When Empire Strikes Back came out they did a typical parody and ran a cover showing Yoda ith Alfred E. Newman’s face. A month or so later, they ran a letter from George Lucas’ lawyers threatening a lawsuit and demand an appology and further unreasonable action. They commented, “We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy our magazine as much as your boss,” followed by a letter they recieved from George Lucas complimenting them on the Empire Strikes Back issue. What the Lacktivist is doing is clearly fair use to anyone who knows anything about the law, but unfortunately the costs of litigation make asserting fair use prohibitive to most individuals, turning copyright law into censorship power for the powerful over the rest of us. Those interersted in activism on these issues need to check out the Electronic Freedom Foundation’s website and read Free Culture by Larry Lessig, both of which can be accessed through Lessig’s blog,