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DeBeers Says Parody is Illegal?

Sad but true. But you need to know the whole story. First of all, go here (before it’s taken down!) www.nytimes-se.com and enjoy one of the most brilliant spoofs I’ve ever seen or heard of.

deBeers — you know, the diamond people — is threatening the Swiss-based domain registrar, Joker.com, with expensive lawsuits unless they disable the spoof website. The threatened charge? Trademark infringement. *

Our favorite Net Freedom Fighters, the EFF, have taken on the case and are arguing (persuasively) that there is ample US protection for the registrar.

History shows that parody is one of the most basic levels of free speech — if you can’t make fun of something then you can’t speak freely at all. Dictators usually kill the comics first, after all.

* Please note that I am not, not, NOT taking any potshots at DeBeers. It almost hurts to not say anything snarky about their destructive business methods, their lack of morals, or their ability to look innocent while wringing bloody hands.

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