Moveon.org is being sued over a billboard!

From a few sources this morning, apparently Moveon.org received the following:

“Lou!siana Pick your passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal is denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”

Dardenne said that the same typeface is used in the state’s “Pick Your Passion”€ ad and the MoveOn ad.

MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning acknowledged receipt of the cease-and-desist letter and released the following response:

MoveOn will not back down in the face of baseless legal threats. If Republican officials don’t want to be criticized for keeping hundreds of thousands of Louisianans from accessing Medicaid, there’s a simple solution — they should stop preventing Louisianans from accessing Medicaid.Neither Governor Jindal nor Lt. Governor Dardenne will silence MoveOn members. This billboard is protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Instead of wasting our time and theirs with a pathetic attempt to suppress criticism of the state government, state officials should focus on helping nearly 245,000 Louisianans access Medicaid. If he is truly concerned about Louisiana’s image, Lt. Gov Dardenne’s time should be spent getting people health care, not trying to take down a billboard.

 

I do hope that Moveon.org fights this classic attempt to silence free speech in Louisiana.  If you get a chance, go to their website and donate a few bucks.  They always have interesting things to say, whether you agree with them or not.

 

Here are more sources for the article:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/07/1282814/-Louisianna-Threatens-To-Sue-MoveOn-Over-Billboard

1. “Louisiana sues MoveOn.org over Bobby Jindal billboard,” The Times-Picayune, March 14, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=297409&id=93173-26207115-2Xa4K9x&t=10
2. “Louisiana, MoveOn group tangle over political billboard,” The Times-Picayune, March 6, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=297273&id=93173-26207115-2Xa4K9x&t=11
From one of the articles:
Keith Werhan, constitutional law professor at Tulane University Law School, said last week suits of this sort are usually unsuccessful: “The government can’t legally silence those who are criticizing them.”
Now, the Republican lieutenant governor of Louisiana wants us to take down a billboard criticizing Governor Jindal–who has presidential ambitions–because it’s a takeoff on the state’s tourism slogan, “Pick Your Passion.” This is a blatant attack on free speech. A state government isn’t entitled to use trademark law to censor citizens who want to criticize the state for its heartless and stupid policies.
Note, the LA government is using trademark law as an excuse to take down the bulletin board.   Now, the LA govt is getting closer to something they CAN do.  But in this case, does the public truly recognize that slogan “pick your passion” as emanating from the LA state government or the appearance of the bulletin board.   This is “look and feel” of a source of origin.  Typically the plaintiff asserting tm infringement will need to assert survey evidence as indicator of a strong mark.  Unless they get some good survey evidence, which is doubtful, I think they’re in for an uphill battle on the trademark issues.
But the trademark issues do make their road rockier and less certain. meaning more money will be spent on lawyers.
The real question is, why would LA state government engage in a trademark/defamation battle against moveon.org to waste state funds?
Good article, and thanks for all your submissions.  It does help with my fight for free speech against the Illinois government.  While I have not infringed any state of Illinois trademarks or “look and feel” ads, the IARDC wants to regulate my speech when I call for an investigation and point out fairly absurd continuing irregularties in probate court.  They obviously don’t want me to use the words “corruption”, as well as “fraud, theft, embezzlement” when funds go missing from accountings and inventories.  So it makes everyone wonder why this is in light of our free speech rights.
Also, they do no ethics reporting and demands for this go unanswered, or are met with clear opposition. They do not publish salaries.  We do not know how they appointed my tribunal board or Ken’s.
But I will serve a FOIA for that one and let you all know.
Meanwhile, I have reports that a certain judicial candidate is using the words “corruption” and “Greylord” in his televised ads.  I will try to get a copy for all of you to see that some judges are concerned, besides the ones I have published here.
Thanks to all for your support.
JoAnne

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