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Traitor Joe Vs. Trader Joes.

The folks over at Liberty Maniacs make satirical tee-shirts and other products.

One of their latest offerings is the “Traitor Joe” tee shirt seen above. (It’s available in small to 3x sizes and many colors.)

However, someone doesn’t get the humor – mainly the retail store and grocery store chain of Trader Joe’s.

Liberty Maniacs received a letter from Trader Joe’s demanding the Traitor Joe tee shirts be removed due to copyright infringement.

berliner-demand-letter

Yeah, this is going to end well for Trader Joe’s because of the similarity in designs and the fact that no one is going to take the Traitor Joe tee shirt to be representative of a grocery store.

(That’s sarcasm, in case you are wondering.)

Fortunately for those of us who believe in the First Amendment’s protection of political speech and satire in general, Liberty Maniacs is being represented by Paul Alan Levy.

I recently had the pleasure of representing Dan McCall again — author of such wicked parodies as NSA – the Only Part of Government That Actually Listens (we got to sue the NSA for a declaratory judgment of noninfringement); Ready for Oligarchy (over which we came with hours of filing suit against Hillary Clinton’s exploratory committee); and Bernie Is My Comrade (Sanders’ committee had the smarts to retract quickly). Last week, I sent a response to a demand letter sent on behalf of Trader Joe’s from a BigLaw attorney lawyer who, considering his claim to be a “seasoned intellectual property litigator,” really should have known better than to subject his client to the Streisand Effect.

[. . . .]

The NSA (and Department of Homeland Security) had to seek a humiliating settlement after we sued it, and Ready for Hillary sent a retraction letter hours before the deadline we gave it (I had to contact a well-connected friend who warned her political contacts that Clinton’s lawyers did not understand what they were getting into). The only real consequence of any of these demand letters is that McCall got to sell more shirts (indeed, many of my friends and family who adore Bernie Sanders were first in line), and more people heard about the parodies than otherwise would have done so. You have to wonder why companies like Trader Joe’s waste their money on such demand letters, and whether the lawyers who write such letters warn their clients of the likely consequences.

Levy responded to Trader Joe’s with this:

levy-to-berliner

As you can see, the letter from the lawyer from Trader Joe’s relies on legal bullying tactics.

Levy’s response relies on the law.

As stated in Levy’s post, he represented Liberty Maniacs in a case against the National Security Agency (the NSA) and won. Here is the tee shirt that was the cause of the commotion. It’s outstanding, to say the least.

We have a tendency to believe that anyone who is willing to take on the NSA and the Clinton campaign and win is a formidable person with convictions.

Kudos to Levy and Liberty Maniacs.


As you may know, President Biden has announced that due to many factors (of which he doesn’t know or address) there may be shortages of gifts for Christmas this year.

We would say that the merchandise offered at Liberty Maniacs may help fill many a stocking. We highly recommend you check them out.

(As always, we get nothing from recommending any product, goods or services.)



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