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Author Topic: Don't Use Those Words: Fox News Owns Them
snopes
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Fox News is suing comedian and writer Al Franken in the New York courts, attempting to stop the sale of his forthcoming book, "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." Fox claims that Franken may not use the expression "fair and balanced" because it has been trademarked by Fox News and that Franken's book would confuse viewers about the source of the book and about the objectivity of its coverage.

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wxxi/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=533842

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Brad from Georgia
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Interestingly, Fox does NOT seem to be contesting Franken's assertion that its employees are liars who tell lies....

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Ursa Major
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quote:
..."parasite," "shrill and unstable"...a person whose "views lack any serious depth or insight." ..."intoxicated or deranged".
Sounds to me like the perfect candidate for a job behind one of Fox's "news" desks.
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PatYoung
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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Interestingly, Fox does NOT seem to be contesting Franken's assertion that its employees are liars who tell lies....

Lying Liars, Brad.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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Llewtrah
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quote:
Fox claims that Franken may not use the expression "fair and balanced" because it has been trademarked by Fox News
I''m certain that the phrase appears in books which pre-dates Fox News' claim; probably in some pre-datinng the existence of Fox News! Probably in books old enough that the term has passed into the public domain. All he needs do is plenty of reading of old books.

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PatYoung
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Hmm, I wonder if FOX will be forced to prove that its news actually contains those two ingredients before it can enforce its trademark.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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snopes
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quote:
I'm certain that the phrase appears in books which pre-dates Fox News' claim; probably in some pre-datinng the existence of Fox News! Probably in books old enough that the term has passed into the public domain. All he needs do is plenty of reading of old books.
The fact that words or phrases have been in common use does not prevent their being registered as a trademark (nor do they "pass into public domain," since they were never "out" of the public domain in the first place).

- snopes

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snopes
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Fox and Franken locked in title bout

NEW YORK — Perhaps Fox News Channel should have tracked Spike Lee's losing lawsuit against Viacom more closely before filing suit against comedian Al Franken's forthcoming book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-et-jensen15aug15,1,4846451.story

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The Eyeball Kid
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I'm not seeing what the fuss is all about, really. Since Larry Flynt went through his ordeal in the 80's and the US Supreme Court ruled that "parody is a protected form of free speech by the Constitution", Al Franken really has nothing to worry about.

EK

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Ah, FoxNews trademarked "Fair & Balanced," as opposed to "Fair and Balanced" used on Franken's book.

Besides, nobody's going to mistake Franken's book for a FoxNews joint, so I guess Bill O'Reilly's gonna get a nice Christmas gift from the Franken clan this year.

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Felessan
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There has to be an award for the most ridiculous use of trademarks and copyrights...

Years ago TSR Inc., the makers of Dungeons & Dragons, issued an Indiana Jones role-playing game and put copyright signs against the words 'Nazi' and 'Goon', appearing on game counters.

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Hillary K., fair and balanced
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So, how long 'til I get the lawyers sicced on me?

Hillary "really couldn't resist" K.

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Kokopelli
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quote:
There has to be an award for the most ridiculous use of trademarks and copyrights...

Years ago TSR Inc., the makers of Dungeons & Dragons, issued an Indiana Jones role-playing game and put copyright signs against the words 'Nazi' and 'Goon', appearing on game counters.

That's an old, old story, and not really true.

From this site

quote:
Q. Didn't TSR trademark the word "Nazi"?
A. It may seem bizarre to include such a specific question in a FAQ, but
the number of times the thing comes up really does justify it.
The quick answer is "no." What seems to have happened is that TSR's old
"Indiana Jones" game included an illustration or cardboard figure of a Nazi
soldier (as a villain), with a "TM" symbol next to the word. The myth grew
from there. However, what was being trademarked was NOT the word, but the
associated image. Furthermore, the trademarks in that product were claimed,
not by TSR, but by Lucasfilm (makers of the Indiana Jones movies).
However, some people refuse to let mere facts get in the way of a good
urban legend. This one is amazingly persistent. If you try to resurrect it
on the newsgroup, expect to be derided by the old hands.
Plenty of people on the newsgroup find plausible reasons to mock the
old regime at TSR (and others are ready to defend the company). But please
leave the "Nazi(TM)" canard out of it.

[Edited to fix link]
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Silas Sparkhammer
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re the Indiana Jones role-playing-game, nope: I have it, and the TM is used adjacent to the TEXT, "Nazi."

Silas

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Llewtrah
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quote:
The fact that words or phrases have been in common use does not prevent their being registered as a trademark (nor do they "pass into public domain," since they were never "out" of the public domain in the first place).
Though AIUI (from a US copyright lawyer after some previous hassles) in the case where a phrase is already in common use, you can register it, but you can't prevent others from using that phrase. Here in the UK, to trademark a phrase or word, it has to be associated with a particular typeface or logo since the words on their own can't be trademarked.

So (under UK interpretation at least) TSR could, have trademarked "Nazi" in a strange typeface in particular colours, but could not claim the word on its own.

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Kilrati
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quote:
All he needs do is plenty of reading of old books.


I don't think Al Franken does that a lot.
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Aureal
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
re the Indiana Jones role-playing-game, nope: I have it, and the TM is used adjacent to the TEXT, "Nazi."

Was anybody challenging that fact? The quoted article agrees with you.
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KeithB
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Fisher Price "Little People" trademark the names of the characters like "Michael" or "Sarah."

KeithB(TM)

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Keeper of the Mad Bunnies
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Back to the OP:

Fox News loses attempt to block satirist's book

Story at CNN

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, after listening to about half an hour of oral arguments, said the lawsuit was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

James Powell

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Don Gato
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This is my favorite part:

quote:
Attorney Dori Hanswirth, representing Fox News ... contended that Franken's book cover did not qualify as satire.

"This is much too subtle to be considered a parody," she said.

Gee, what part of "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" do you think she found too subtle?

Don Gato

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Tootsie Plunkette
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ETA: from another CNN story on this case.

quote:
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin Friday found "no evidence of actual confusion" in the parody, which he called "a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment" to the Constitution.

"I don't know if Fox is arguing that its viewers are less sophisticated than those who would buy Mr. Franken's book," Chin said in court. "But either way, I think we are talking about relatively sophisticated consumers here."

Me-ow!!

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PatYoung
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Did anyone really think that FOX/O'Reilly's attempt to subvert the constitution was anything more than a bad joke? Perhaps in this postmodernist world we have seen the birth of the ironic lawsuit.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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First of Two
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Now we just need someone at FOX to write a book entitled "Al Franken is a Dorky, Unfunny Leftist Stooge," and the scales will be rebalanced.

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Ursa Major
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quote:
Originally posted by First of Mroww:
Now we just need someone at FOX to write a book entitled "Al Franken is a Dorky, Unfunny Leftist Stooge," and the scales will be rebalanced.

I'm sure Franken's publisher is drooling at the prospect. With enemies like FOX, who needs a publicist on the payroll?
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Tootsie Plunkette
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From the CNN story I posted above:

quote:
"It's time to return Al Franken to the obscurity he's normally accustomed to," a Fox spokeswoman later told CNN.
quote:
Penguin now has 510,000 copies of Franken's book in print, having initially shipped nearly 300,000 copies to stores before it went on sale last week.

The book is ranked first on Amazon.com's bestseller list.



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DesertRat
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Boy, FoxNews really stepped on its NFBSK with this one...

If by "fair and balanced" they main "far-right, non-sensical ramblings," okay, then I can see their point.

However, I do find it rather amusing that the blatant left-wing bias that is CNN (and most major networks) has finally met its match for innuendo, spin, and partisanship. These two networks were MADE for eachother...

MSNBC for me, thanks!

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Isaac
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I wonder if FOX has trademarked the term "homicide bomber" also.

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STF
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I think Fox should have expected to help Franken's book by filing this lawsuit. That was a dumb move on their part. Although it was funny seeing a lawsuit that really just made fun of Al Franken. It's like the suit was less about protecting their phrase and more about an opportunity to say that Franken was unfunny.

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vampyrviolia
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Bill o Reilliy still wants to sue. Can't find a link, but on Countdown he was quoted as saying "If Al Franken is a satirest then I'm Jeniffer Lopez"

Should a letter be writen to Ms. Lopez asking why she had a make-over?

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