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LibertyManiacs owner nearly silenced by legal threats

For Daniel McCall’s take on the situation, click here.

The owner of LibertyManiacs, Daniel McCall, has come under fire by the Bernie Sanders campaign over a design made for their web store. Apparently, the campaign does not care for Sanders depicted as the dictator he defended during the 80’s. Regardless, for many young entrepreneurs, the harsh hand of the law is an all too real deterrent from entering the marketplace and starting a business. Unfortunately for LibertyManiacs, the Sanders campaign is not above placing McCall among those ranks.

From left to right: Karl Marx, Frederic Engles, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Ze Dong, and Bernie Sanders

From left to right: Karl Marx, Frederic Engles, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Ze Dong, and Bernie Sanders

The image in question places Bernie amongst the ranks of history’s most iconic communist figures. While some were not brutal dictators who murdered millions of people, like Engles and Marx, it’s understandable Sanders would be embarrassed to be compared with Mao and Stalin. Still, he was not above defending the track record of other mass murderers like Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro.

Claire Hawkins, who claimed to represent Bernie 2016, sent a letter to McCall demanding he stop producing merchandise portraying the logo after it was discovered by the campaign, but McCall says he won’t be so easily intimidated. From

Two years ago, we shot down bogus a trademark demand by the Ready for Hillary pre-campaign PAC, which tried to suppress Liberty Maniac’s “Ready for Oligarchy” parody. (Readers of this blog may remember Liberty Maniacs (and its owner, Dan McCall) for having drawn threats from the NSA for calling it “The only part of the government that actually listens.”)   Last year, it was a demand from Ben Carson’s campaign trying to take the Carson name off both critical and complimentary campaign wear.  In 2012, Ron Paul’s campaign committee contended that its trademark was infringed by a YouTube videothat satirized its efforts.  And in 2008, we had to seek a declaratory judgment against the Republican National Committee to get it to back off an effort to use trademark to prevent people from using the elephant logo to describe the Republican Party as an object of affection or derision.  Each time, the lawyers representing candidates or political committees made stupid legal threats based on a misunderstanding of trademark law (or using pretended trademark law claims as an excuse), and each time, the public response to the demands taught them about the consequences of making such demands.

Additionally, McCall said he got into an argument on the phone with yet another member of the Sanders campaign, who claimed McCall was “lecturing him”. McCall has not yet stated that he has to take down the image, but is hopeful it won’t come to that.

You can buy merchandise bearing the image here.


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