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496 comments

fist ports (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788128)

yeah woohoo first post NOT!

How about it... (5, Interesting)

bgog (564818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788129)

Does anyone have this comic mirrored anywhere? I'm sure we'd all love to see what the fuss is about.

Re:How about it... (1)

Ironpoint (463916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788143)

Someone posted it in the PA forums. Freakin Hilarious.

Re:How about it... (4, Informative)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788148)

http://members.aol.com/matthewbrinegar/straw.gif [aol.com]

Jeez... it took all of a minute searching through the forum (linked in the story) to find it. And it turned out to be an AOhelLer who managed to post it correctly, rather than an IMG SRC= tag back to the original.

Re:How about it... (1)

bgog (564818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788154)

Thanks... Missed the link to the forum... Doh.. This is a sign I need coffee

Mirror that won't get slashdotted: (3, Informative)

dphoenix (623525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788149)

http://members.aol.com/matthewbrinegar/straw.gif I don't think AOL is going to get slashdotted any time soon. :)

Mod parent up (1)

SaXisT4LiF (120908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788163)

Right on

Re:How about it... (1)

Night0wl (251522) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788162)

Read there forums, page two, get it while it's hot.

If any one with a nice big connection wants to host some porn for me, send me an email.
I PROMISE I DONT HAVE THIS COMIC FOR YOU TO MIRROR

That is all.

Think of the children. (1, Funny)

dphoenix (623525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788135)

Think of the children. Won't somebody PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?! Obviously, web comics support terrism.

Re:Think of the children. (2, Funny)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788160)

They certainly don't support spelling...

Re:Think of the children. (1)

BurKaZoiD (611246) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788167)

For Pete's sake, have a cup of Java (no pun intended) or something. It's not that damn early to make gratuitous spelling errors. (Christ, I hope I spelled that right, *yawn*).

On topic, I thought the comic was funny as hell. Had me spitting up my coke when I saw it. Go PA!

Re:Think of the children. (2, Insightful)

MonkeyDluffy (577002) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788408)

Actually, fighting for our rights is one of the best way to help our children.


-MDL

Certainly off-topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788136)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin (a troll!)

it's late, i'm going to surf cable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788138)

hope there's something whackable on cinemax but this late i'll probably have to splurge for hotnet

Isn't it protected? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788147)

I thought copyright law had exemptions for satire and humour.

If it didn't, how could anyone talk about anything?

Re:Isn't it protected? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788169)

it does, afaik...a Google search came up with this [asopa.com] (imo at least) rather interesting article. She does cover satire etc. a little further down...

Re: Isn't it protected? (3, Funny)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788189)

And they don't exempt sarcasm? Yeah that's really smart.

/stupid stolen joke

__
- cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

Re:Isn't it protected? (5, Informative)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788199)

Parody of trademarks as well as copyrighted material is normally protected, but there are cases where it is not. This article [usip.com] describes threee cases where the pardy was found unprotected. The most relevant of the three is Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. v. Novak, 231 U.S.P.Q. 963 (D. Neb. 1986). Now 1986 came long before a load of the IP-silliness.

The guts of the case: a guy made a "political statement" and did a "Mutant of Omaha" design, offering "Nuclear Holocaust Insurance" (it was the Cold War, kiddies, and Reagan was in the White House).

In addition, the creator parodied the MoO Indian head trademark and was selling these designs on T-shirts, caps and coffee mugs. The District Court for the District of Nebraska found in favour of MoO, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed.

If there is nothing for sale, First Amendment arguments have a much stronger considerations. Even pure political messages don't carry enough weight. But parody is not a guarantee of protection, despite a long tradition of it in American society.

woof.

Re:Isn't it protected? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788266)

Most likely, the problem there was that the parody was all too believable. It is, after all, hard to effectively parody an industry based on it's customers betting that they'll die before the company thinks they will (observation courtesy of Mad Magazine).

Re:Isn't it protected? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788329)

rinda.vas@amgreetings.com doesn't care about that.

rinda.vas@amgreetings.com is a corporate whore who cares about protecting a trade mark.

rinda.vas@amgreetings.com is going to get an absolute shitload of spam and I'm happy about that.

Weird Al Yankovic Interview (3, Interesting)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788365)

I really wish I understood the legal limits of parody and satire. It is often cited that copyright law allows it. At the same time, I once heard an interview with Weird Al Yankovic. He was talking about his parodies of pop songs. He mentioned that he always got permission from the copyright owners before he published one. He almost always got it, but he did ask. This would suggest that there are some potential legal hassles if you're not careful.

Re:Weird Al Yankovic Interview (2, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788413)

I think Weird Al and his hillarious music is a different kettle of fish alltogether; after all, he almost always uses the original music (even if he seems fond of adding some accordion) and changes the lyrics - thus retainign a significant portion of the original work. Had he instead written a new melody to go along with his altered lyrics, I think he might not have needed to ask permission.

Besides, which recordlabel would have dared publish his records if he hand't had permission in the first place?

Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is one (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788152)

American Greetings needs to get a grip. Parody is a legitimate form of Fair Use.

Didn't you get the memo? (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788184)

You didn't get the memo? There is no more fair [riaa.org] use [mpaa.org] for anything electronic any more.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (4, Insightful)

questamor (653018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788202)

Sucks to be them

What was the purpose of getting the image pulled - to stop people seeing a ripoff of their product/image/whatever

Now the story's on 2 places online, has the attention of the slashdot crowd, and shall be mirrored in dozens of places it never would have gotten to.

Thanks guys - I wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't wanted it pulled!

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788367)

I realy don't think anybody would think the parody is the real strawberry. It's way too crude. If this got sent to major newspapers by mistake, I doubt it would get printed.

I do have to admit, I only saw it because of the fuss over it. Wow, what a way to get your work noticed.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (2, Interesting)

mike_mgo (589966) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788234)

I'm kinda speaking from ignorance here but...

Is this technically a parody? I thought of parody as imitation, not copying, of the original. So Spaceballs or Bored of the Rings are parodies where it is obvious what the source material is but none of the characters, names or places are directly from the originals.

In this case the actual name of the character is being used in the cartoon. Now, if they'd used the same image and made up a new name I don't think AG would have a leg to stand on, but in the current form they may be within their rights.

I don't know the law on this, and maybe my understanding parody is not the same as a court would see it, but I think AG may be right.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788303)

I guess you didn't see the strip? If it's the one I saw, it was *not* a "copy of the original" -- unless strawberry shortcake [fsu.edu] went through puberty with a vengeance since the last time I saw her.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788327)

sorry to reply to myself - just found a link to the image:

http://members.aol.com/matthewbrinegar/straw.gif [aol.com]

Uh, not a copy of the original image. I can see how AG would be unhappy about this -- she is big-breasted in a corset sitting on another girl with her ass sticking out and red marks from being hit with a whip (or whatever that is).

But is it a parody? Does it really harm AG? Do they have a legal leg to stand on in demanding that it be taken down? Does it really matter if you are a big company with a bunch of lawyers and the other guys just run a website with the two of them and don't have time/money to defend themselves?

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788390)

Well, there was this recent lawsuit regarding barbie [bbc.co.uk] so...

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (5, Informative)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788337)

It is technically a parody, but it is not protected under fair use. (Whether you use the same names as the original, or twist them into funny-but-recognizable versions like "Frodo->Frito" and "Biblo->Dildo" doesn't matter)

To get the fair-use exemption to copyright law, your work must not just be a parody- it must be a parody of the material you are infringing.

In this case, Penny Arcade used some kind of "Strawberry Shortcake" copyrighted material to create a parody of American McGee's videogame development preferences (as seen here [ea.com] ).

Since the parody doesn't make any critical commentary about "Strawberry Shortcake", it has no legal justification to use those names or images.

The famous recent case on this subject [virtualrecordings.com] was linked to [tklaw.com] (pdf) by Penny-Arcade. In that case, a parody called "The Cat NOT in the Cat" was banned for using images from a book by Theodor Geisel to make a comment on the conduct of the Orenthal Simpsom murder trial. Because the materials he was borrowing were neither positively nor negatively commented on by his work, he was not allowed to publish the parody.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

gvonk (107719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788356)

Damn. I just wrote a post here lamenting the fact that this happened, but now you've made me remember all the crap I learned in my Mass Comm. Law class. You're totally right, and this is one of the most insightful posts in the thread.
If I hadn't already posted AND had mod points, I would totally mod you up for being exactly in line with how I learned the law.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788357)

At the same time, you could very well argue that PA was simultaneously parodying American McGee and American Greetings. American Greetings recently began pushing its Strawberry Shortcake brand to market again, albeit in an updated, "hipper" form.

So, Mike and Jerry's work could simultaneously be lampooning McGee's twisted product notions as well as Greetings' re-released, ultra="hip" version of their character.

Just a thought.

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

dwightk (415372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788338)

Every time something like this happens Slashdot is filled with arm chair lawyers.
I might agree with you, but did you actually read the comic? I thought it was pretty funny, but I can also see why they wanted to get rid of it. And don't give me crap about little girls not reading Penny Arcade.

Also, how come there are 18 posts moded up to "5 Interesting" that say... "Wah wahh wahh... fair use... wah wahh" ? 17 of them should be moded "Redundant"

Re:Hope the lawsuit gets thrown out, if there is o (1)

EvilAlien (133134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788398)

What American Greetings needs is to get no more sales of their crappy games ever again. That'll show 'em. The PR damage from a petty maneuver like this is far larger and widespread than the PA readership.

Slashdot boycott anyone? Email writing campaign? Addition of American Greetings to the /. list of mandatory hated organizations? ;P

comics? humans are cartoons. (-1, Offtopic)

c00lz (667928) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788157)

www.matrix4.net details the fact that we are within a computer as artificial intelligence.

We are nothing more than a cartoon ourselves.

Re:comics? humans are cartoons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788187)

Way to get them to end the simulation! Once the simulation becomes self-aware it's no fun to watch anymore and the plug gets pulled. SHHhhhhh!

Rinda Vas? (-1, Offtopic)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788161)

man, I would so have to have a name like "Rinda". Sounds more like she should be working here [engrish.com] rather then here [slashdot.org] ...

Re:Rinda Vas? (0)

BurKaZoiD (611246) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788185)

ROFLMGDAO!!!!!!!!

I love the way... (1, Funny)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788164)

they choose to display the email in an image. After all they wouldn't want all of those flames lost in a sea of penis enlargers and fake degrees.

__
- cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (5, Interesting)

Chocaholic (635430) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788165)

This reminds me of the fuss a couple of years ago about Aqua's entertaining pop ditty "Barbie Girl", which quite effectively parodied the apparent lifestyle of the doll (if you haven't heard it, you really don't want to, trust me).

Mattel tried every trick in the book to get the song either wiped or get a share of the cash, but to no avail.

I suspect Penny Arcade were just not wanting the inevitable lawsuit (why does *everything* have to end up in a lawsuit these days? rhetorical...), but it seems as though the parody defence is still just about alive in law.

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (1)

y0bhgu0d (168149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788259)

while you don't want to hear the english version of the aqua song, the dutch version is damn entertaining.... lmao

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (1)

eggz128 (447435) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788261)

Arrrgh, you git! I'd forgotten the horror that was "Barbie Girl" and now it's back in my head.

Nooo :(

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788278)

Hiya Barbie!
Hi Ken!
Wanna go for a ride?
Sure Ken!

GARGH! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788323)

Barbie Girl make Hulk angry! HULK SMASH! GARGH!

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788307)

As a totally useless piece of Pop trivia you can also get Aqua's Ugly Girl which isn't quite as bad :)

Now the Cheeky Girls:- Touch my Bum is just pure evil

Rus

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (5, Informative)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788313)

It's a different animal entirely.

You're referring to Mattel Inc. v. MCA Records Inc., 01-633, which SCOTUS refused to hear, letting stand the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said there was no confusion.

Mattel's argument was that MCA violated Mattel's Barbie trademark by using the name both in the title and content of the song. More importantly, Mattel alleged that Barbie fans would be confused and believe that the song was authorized by Mattel.

It got more interesting when Mattel said about MCA, "It's akin to a bank robber handing a note of apology to a teller during a heist." So MCA sued Mattel for defamation. The same judge told MCA to forget it, because people were just as unlikely to take "heist" and "robbery" as a direct accusation of such activities by MCA against Mattel, just as nobody was about to believe that Mattel would have authorised the lyrics, "I'm a blond bimbo girl in a fantasy world/Dress me up, make it tight, I'm your dolly."

Mattel tried to infringe on MCA's First Amendment rights to distribute a song and MCA tried to infringe on Mattel's First Amendment rights to free speech. Neat, huh?

But in this American Greetings case, we don't have parody of the character itself, we have a parody using a known, trademarked character in situ in a way that may well be easily confused.

I don't agree with the demand to take down the graphic, and I think American Greetings would have been better served asking Penny Arcade to simply add a "This is a parody and not sanctioned by American Greetings, owners of the Strawberry Shortcake trademark and likeness" disclaimer. That's their lawyers' choice to make, though, and not mine.

woof.

Re:Reminiscent of the Barbie Girl fuss (1)

gvonk (107719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788339)

This is where I have a problem with these C&D letters. On the one hand, I certainly support the rights of companies to protect their copyrights (though I may disagree with how much right they have to do so), and on the other hand, I know that the reality of the situation is that the VAST majority of independent web publishers/authors don't have nearly enough resources to fight even one single legal battle over one piece of content or article. How do you fix this?

My email to the company (4, Interesting)

Glyndwr (217857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788183)

You know, you really should stop and take stock: how much harm was that parody *really* doing you? How much harm has this heavy-handed action *really* done you? Is this really how you want to be percevied by potential customers?

Short, to the point, and not abusive. Hopefully they will take note. Frankly, I think they need to lighten up.

Re:My email to the company (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788245)

percevied by potential customers

Yes, I'm sure every 6 year old child dragging her mom thru Toys'R'us will now be saying, "Don't buy me THAT mommy - her manufacturer supresses free speech by threatening to persecute adult parodies of it on the web!"

Gee, I never would have paid it no mind, but now I have to d/l a copy, burn it on several CD's and put it by my copy of deCSS, cellphone enabled scanner and drug paraphernalia.

Fair Use (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788190)

I am so god damned tired of companies doing this. Fair use allows parody as long as the use does not cause confusion in the market place, ie: as long as it is obvious that it is parody and not the same 'product'. We have been in and out on similar but different fair use of a trademark ourselves, and finally got the company to see the light.

As much as I hate lawyers (and who doesn't?) it appears we need a new case or two at the highest level to reaffirm our rights to fair use in parody.

Re:Fair Use (4, Informative)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788249)

it appears we need a new case or two at the highest level to reaffirm our rights to fair use in parody.


We did, the Aqua "Barbie Girl" case recently confirmed fair use. The American Greetings Company knew they were wrong in sending this out, but they didn't care. They figured that with a little intimidation, they would have a good chance of convincing the PA people to yank the pic. If it didn't work, then what have they lost?


This is why it's important to make these companies realize that sending out C&D letters to people when you have no legal justification will result in bad publicity. Furthermore, they need to be shown that this bad publicity will do more harm to them than the original work.

Re:Fair Use (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788263)

Penny Arcade should get in touch with the MAD Magazine guys in New York; I'm sure they'd be glad to help. MAD parodies EVERYTHING, and has refined their anti-lawyer kungfoo to an art over the years.

This months MAD: "Bored of the Rings: Again" :)

Re:Fair Use (5, Informative)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788359)

Fair use allows parody as long as the use does not cause confusion in the market place

You are combining unrelated aspects of Intellectual Property law. "Fair use" as a concept applies to copyright, and "confusion in the marketplace" is a concern only for trademarks.

For a particular parody to be legal to publish, it must separately pass both trademark and copyright tests.

Surviving the trademark test is easy if you don't use terms that have been registered as trademarks. Changing the name enough to be unconfusing, like "WacDanalds", will work, and there are other ways too.

To get by the copyright test, you either must not be using any copyrighted material (unlikely when paroding corporate works, but if you're targeting an individual or a governmental organization, they may not own copyrights), or you must meet the "fair use" exception. Fair use permits you to make limited violations of a copyright for the purpose of studying or critizing the material under copyright.

Since it appears that the Penny-Arcade parody critizes not "Strawberry Shortcake", but American McGee, they cannot use copyrighted "Strawberry Shortcake" images to make their point.

(I wrote a little more above [slashdot.org] )

I'm pro funny too... (-1, Troll)

solarrhino (581267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788200)

but how is that relevant here?

That is about on the level of a grade school blackboard drawing of humping stick figures labeled "principal" and "teacher". Anybody who finds that "funny" needs to see a lawyer themselves - their emotional development has obviously been arrested.

Re:I'm pro funny too... (4, Funny)

Phigs (528913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788216)

grade school blackboard drawing of humping stick figures labeled "principal" and "teacher". Anybody who finds that "funny" needs to see a lawyer themselves

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... oh wait

Re:I'm pro funny too... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788242)

You've completely missed the point. The entire point of the strip was how 'easy' and immature that form of humour is!

Quoth Gabe here [penny-arcade.com] :

Making something gross or sexual or both is probably the easiest thing in the world to do. Just look at the margins of any 7th graders homework. You will find plenty of doodles on par with anything McGee has produced. American has said that his new game OZ will stay fairly true to the books but it will be "darker". It's sad that is the best he can come up with. American has the opportunity to take these well known and loved stories and re-imagine them for the world of video games, a medium with unlimited possibilities. When he made Alice I gave him credit for taking the story in a new direction even if it wasn't a terribly interesting one. Now with OZ he's doing the same thing and it shows that Alice was not some creative masterpiece. This guy is just a pervert and this is all he knows how to do. It's like he has some kind of huge fucking machine. Beloved stories and characters go in one side and junior high quality goth crap comes out the other.Yeah, Yeah McGee, we all know you are very angry. You should save yourself some fucking time and just wear a T-shirt that says "I am dark and brooding".

Re:I'm pro funny too... (1)

BathTub (75720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788244)

You know the joke is about American McGee right? Not Strawberry Shortcake.

Re:I'm pro funny too... (1)

solarrhino (581267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788268)

You (and the A.C. before you) are right - I didn't see that as a joke on McGee - and I was aware of McGee's products.

I don't follow Penny Arcade, and I didn't read the forum. I just looked at the picture and saw an unwarranted (and stupid) attack on "Strawberry Shortcake". Maybe American Greetings has a point.

Re:I'm pro funny too... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788326)

Aha, but you only read the strip because of the bruhaha(erm ha..haha..ha?).

If you had read the strip in it's original setting and read the accompanying explanation(as al PA readers would have), the intent and message would have been clear - that it was a parody, and not even on Strawberry Shortcake/AG.

It was the action by them (and subsequent reaction of the PA fans) that might have led you to misunderstand the message of the comic.

etc.

Re:I'm pro funny too... (1, Redundant)

Glyndwr (217857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788256)

You've missed the actual joke the comic was making. Read the news item [penny-arcade.com] for this quote that explains it:
'My take on McGee/McFarlane:


'Making something gross or sexual or both is probably the easiest thing in the world to do. Just look at the margins of any 7th graders homework. You will find plenty of doodles on par with anything McGee has produced. American has said that his new game OZ will stay fairly true to the books but it will be "darker". It's sad that is the best he can come up with. American has the opportunity to take these well known and loved stories and re-imagine them for the world of video games, a medium with unlimited possibilities. When he made Alice I gave him credit for taking the story in a new direction even if it wasn't a terribly interesting one. Now with OZ he's doing the same thing and it shows that Alice was not some creative masterpiece. This guy is just a pervert and this is all he knows how to do. It's like he has some kind of huge fucking machine. Beloved stories and characters go in one side and junior high quality goth crap comes out the other.Yeah, Yeah McGee, we all know you are very angry. You should save yourself some fucking time and just wear a T-shirt that says "I am dark and brooding".'
(Quoting Gabe)

Re:I'm pro funny too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788296)

sorry, beat you to it (by 3 mins), I'm the AC above. ;)

Still maybe they'll get it now.

Re:I'm pro funny too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788325)

Penny Arcade is satire, and it's about games, you idiot... If you know anything about American McGee, you would understand it. The PA guys didn't make AM Alice, or the forthcoming Wiz of Oz that he is doing, they simply took it to this conclusion. Taking anything at face value like you have done indicates your lack of "emotional development."

That'll teach 'em a lesson (4, Insightful)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788203)

It's quite ironic that a company threatens to sue in order to have a fairly innocent piece of satire taken down, and by doing they draw more attention to it than if they'd just left things alone.

It's now on Slashdot and the cartoon is being mirrored all over the place... can't ask for more publicity than that!

I'm so upset I'm going to go drink Pepsi(tm) (5, Funny)

dphoenix (623525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788210)

Well, I've been reading the forum(Powered by Vbulletin(TM), and I'm so upset I got dizzy. I couldn't feel better at all until I had a cool, refreshing drink of Pepsi(TM) and had a seat in my La-Z-Boy(TM) adjustable recliner. Remember, we belong to corporations. They own words in our language now, and there's nothing you can do about it unless you want to fly on a Boeing(TM) jetliner out of the country.

There's a boycott (5, Informative)

PacketCollision (633042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788214)

The boys have started a petition [petitiononline.com] stating that the signers will boycott American Greetings until the comic is allowed to be shown.

Let's show 'em what happens when slashdot readers get wind of something like this.

Re:There's a boycott (3, Informative)

gallen1234 (565989) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788280)

Or you can tell them directly at their contact form [americangreetings.com] .

Re:There's a boycott (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788324)

So, lets hold a poll; how many customers would American Greetings lose as a result of slashdot readers boycotting them? I think the count will be prety low. Chances are better if you start convincing your parents or grandparents to stop using those cards...

American Greetings == Fscked Company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788219)

Having attempted to work with American Greeting's IS department for years, this action comes as no shockandawe. I'm surprised they make a profit.

moron greeting americans at pennIE arkaid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788220)

we'll not be incorepirating any hallmarks, etc,,, in the boat's construction.

current plans for the boat to be able to float on any substance, have been complicated buy the need for it/us to remain nearly invisible to the georgewellian mind/wallet police. lookout bullow. more details at trustworthycomputing.com(spiracIE)

consult yOUR creator frequently regarding matters of the heart/mind/wwwallet.

It's not a parody of Strawberry Whatshername... (4, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788228)


It's a parody of American McGee (or maybe of the flood of crap pseudo-gothic grotesquerie of which he forms but a small part). It just happens to refer to Strawberry Thingy.

Sorry, I'm so pedantic I just had to point that out, because some people seem to have the impression that it's a really childish parody of Strawberry Doodad. Whereas in fact it's an okay (but not hilarious) parody of American 'Alice' McGee and his belief that giving anything at all a big fanged grin and some pseudo-bondage chic will make it entertaining.

This is of course a false belief, similar to the belief (popular in Asia and, I'm told, elsewhere) that giving something cat ears, a cat tail, and enormous big eyes makes it automatically entertaining.

Re:It's not a parody of Strawberry Whatshername... (3, Funny)

kingkade (584184) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788409)

...giving anything at all a big fanged grin and some pseudo-bondage chic will make it entertaining.

Works over here.

This is of course a false belief, similar to the belief (popular in Asia and, I'm told, elsewhere) that giving something cat ears, a cat tail, and enormous big eyes makes it automatically entertaining.

Cats are so hot.

Easy boycott (4, Interesting)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788230)

With Mother's Day just around the corner (May 11th), this is an easy boycott to participate in. Make sure not to buy cards from American or Carlton. By the time the next holiday rolls around, the situation will probably be resolved.

Between Penny-Arcade and Slashdot readers, there are probably enough people to make a difference in their Mother's Day card sales, and unlike boycotting the entire movie industry, this is a really easy one to do. Also, unlike with an MPAA member boycott, they won't simply be able to attribute declining sales to increasing piracy.

So buy Hallmark, tell your friends to do likewise, and let the American Greetings Company know you're doing it. Maybe we can start to teach companies that in the information age, sending out indiscriminate C&D letters in the hopes of intimidation will cause more harm than good to their brand names.

Re:Easy boycott (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788295)

Good thing this didn't happen at the beginning of Feb. then, because I somehow doubt a /. boycott will make a dent in Valentines day card sales.

Re:Easy boycott (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788371)

Make sure not to buy cards from American or Carlton. By the time the next holiday rolls around, the situation will probably be resolved.

I don't buy greeting cards anyway. There's something offensive about being charged USD$3.50 for a piece of mass-produced folded cardboard. Especially with the ready availability of The Gimp and/or greeting card software.

Why the agression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788233)

There was a time a company wouldn't dare file a suit like this. They would have been laughed at and ridiculed. But today...

Johnny Fascism Seed has found some fertile ground and the seeds are taking root. He smiles as he looks around at all the potential. Been years since he's had a good crop. Since the close of WWII, and the fall of the Soviets, there had been so little to do. But now he had a prize that would have been worth waiting a thousand years...America!

Re:Why the agression? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788397)

They would have been laughed at and ridiculed. But today

What's missing from the slashdot postings? Smilies ;-) Acronims ROTFL. I was under the impression besides rage, there was lots of laughing and ridiculing going on.

Re:Why the agression? (1)

softwave (145750) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788420)

<quote>
But now he had a prize that would have been worth waiting a thousand years...America
</quote>

American Greetings, that is...

Not the target (4, Insightful)

greenjinjo (580285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788235)

And the sad thing is: American Greetings were not even the target of the parody. That honor goes to American (coincidence?) McGee. Looks to me like they didn't even bother to read the site.

Re:Not the target (1)

DarkBlack (5773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788273)

That's probably why they figure that they can win this if it ever goes to court.

See this [tklaw.com] PDF for details.

Re:Not the target (1)

DarkBlack (5773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788281)

Sorry. I forgot to mention that you need to look at section 3. Yes I grabbed this from Tycho's post the other day.

YRO? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788237)

How exactly is this an "Oh no our rights are being trampled!" case? It's simply PA being charged under the Slander and Libel law. I wish the editors wouldn't cheapen the usually sound and just YRO section with stories of common criminals getting what's coming to them.

Re:YRO? (3, Informative)

aronc (258501) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788282)

How exactly is this an "Oh no our rights are being trampled!" case? It's simply PA being charged under the Slander and Libel law. I wish the editors wouldn't cheapen the usually sound and just YRO section with stories of common criminals getting what's coming to them.


A) They are not being 'charged' with anything. Read the article.

B) Even if they were, it could not be slander/libel. Nothing was said about American Greetings, it's products, or it's representatives.

What was done was a parody of one of their products. The C&D (sad that those are so common everyone will know what I mean) was about trademark infringement. The first amendment has long been interpreted in this country to protect the rights of parody and satire in almost every case. "Our rights are being trampled" because once again a giant corp. is trying to sling around their weight in clear defience of the law.

Re:YRO? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788402)

YHBT HTH HAND

They need to talk to Brad Templeton (5, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788243)

When Mastercard sent him a nastygram [netfunny.com] over a sick parody on Netfunny of their "...for everything else, there's Mastercard" ads, he sent them back a response -- in the form of a Mastercard ad parody:
Web site hosting for anybody: $10/month and up


Threatening letters to people who satirize you, hoping they won't know the law: $500

Reputation as giant corporation required to intimidate small publishers: $billions

Supreme court decisions protecting parody and satire from accusations of copyright and trademark infringement... Priceless

There are some rights money can't buy. For everything else, there's Mastercard's lawyers.
Of course, it didn't help Mastercard that the target of their attempted intimidation is the chairman of the EFF [eff.org] .

Re:They need to talk to Brad Templeton (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788270)

I just wish I could have seen the look on Mastercards' lawyers' faces when they read that reply. *grumble* "Smartass motherfucker" *grumble*

Petition to sign (4, Informative)

Gathers (78832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788257)

"An industrious reader already has a petition up and ready for you to sign. If you would like to voice your support you can find the
petition here. [petitiononline.com]

I know it has some spelling mistakes but hey, I didn't write it. The kid who did is trying to get it fixed. I guess you can't just change the text of a petition after a couple thousand people have signed it."
From Gabe of Penny Arcade, there were 3509 signatures when I posted this.

I don't understand (1)

Henry Stern (30869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788288)

Maybe I live in a hole or something, but I have no idea why this was pulled. I don't even know who this "Strawberry Shortcake" is, unless she is a tasty treat that I like to eat when the strawberries are ripe.

Can anyone explain to me what is going on?

Re:I don't understand (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788320)

Strawberry Shortcake is/was a line of toys/cartoons featuring little "baby" girls with various fruity scents. They hung out with "My Little Pony" for the most part.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Henry Stern (30869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788421)

What does this have to do with Penny Arcade?

american greetings slashdotted (3, Interesting)

juniorkindergarten (662101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788304)

It appears that the contact us section of american greetings has been slashdotted.

500 Internal Server Error The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator, help@corporate.americangreetings.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error. More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Here's what I was attempting to send, feel free to use mine at your convenience.

Regarding the spoof of strawberry shortcake at penny-arcade.com [penny-arcade.com]
I think that your company is over zealous with its requirement to remove the parody comic from it's web site. You should be aware however your action been posted at several online news forums about your meager attempt at censorship. A pardoy is just that and it in by no means hurts the trade marks, nor does it cause confusion with the original work. I have also written a letter to the creator of the parody urging him to stand up your legal department and challenge your stupidity in court. If he chooses to do so I will gladly donate to his legal efforts.
Furthermore, I will urge my family, friends and co-workers never to buy any product from american greetings ever again, unless this sillyness by your company comes to an end.
Yours Truly
bla bla bla

Re:american greetings slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788362)

Maybe your anger is misdirected. Instead of being angry with a company trying to protect their brand or whatever, you should be mad at the spineless cocksuckers at Penny Arcade for capitulating to American Greetings' demands like the little bitches they are. Ya think?

Dumbass.

The Penny Arcade people are fags anyway, which explains their bending over.

Penny Arcade sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788350)

The jackass who runs PennyArcade is a complete moron, and the little comic strips they do look like utter SHIT. My fucking 9 year-old cousin can do better. It would be no great loss if the whole worthless fucking site went under.

*BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788361)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

not parody (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5788374)

It's funny - glad i was able to grab a copy of it to amuse myself.
But enough is enough! Please don't post regarding "parody" and "fair use" if you don't know the actual legal definition [chillingeffects.org] .
The bottom line is that this cartoon is NOT a parody by the legal definition ("Strawberry Shortcake" IS a trademarked name) and American Greetings had every right to request that the image be pulled down.
Imagine for a moment that American Greetings had lost a court case regarding the name "Strawberry Shortcake" because it had not demonstrated that it vigorously defended its rights to that name, and that the topic was being discussed on slashdot. The first post in that forum would be "American Greetings should have protected its rights pursuant to the trademarked name. It's their own fault for not being diligent." (do some slashdot research; it shouldn't be too hard to find examples that illustrate this point)
Let's try a bit of consistency for once, instead of jumping on the anti-corporation bandwagon.

WOW! (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788378)

The PA message boards have a worse signal to noise ratio than slashdot. I'm amazed.

Legal Precedent is not with them.... (3, Informative)

nifboy (659817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788381)

The big hole in the "parody/satire" defense is the fact that Strawberry Shortcake (A children's book character if you didn't know) isn't their target. It more targets American McGee. Just take a look at their news [penny-arcade.com] for that day (Especially Gabe's post midway through). And the problem is that court precedent doesn't support them [tklaw.com] (link to .pdf file). The third case "Dr. Seuss Enterprises Vs. Penguin Books" is especially relevent.

Dispepsi (3, Insightful)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788383)

Just remember, kids:

It's only a parody if it only promotes the brand. Never EVER harm the brand. You can speak out against your corporate masters as long as it projects their product in a positive light. :)

Might just be me... (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5788385)

...but hasn't Penny Arcade parodied (or, as we say over the pond, "royally taken the piss") out of about a billion things...?

The original DivX boxen
About every games developer ever
About every game ever

Seems to me like the general trend for litigiousness is changing the "sacred" into the "scared".
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