The Boston Globe is trying to stop the Occupy Boston demonstrators from using the paper’s name in its own publication, according to Metro Boston reporter Steve Annear. The protesters are planning to start a paper called the Occupy Boston Globe, similar to the Occupied Wall Street Journal in New York. (David Carr of the New York Times wrote about that last week.)
“We do not condone the use of our trademark-protected name and logo by any organization,” Globe spokesman Bob Powers is quoted as telling Annear.
Surely, though, the Globe’s lawyers know the Occupy Boston folks are within their legal rights. The Globe’s trademark prevents a would-be competitor from coming in and starting a newspaper called the Boston Globe. By contrast, the name “Occupy Boston Globe” is a parody of and a commentary on the Globe and on the media in general, expression that is protected by the First Amendment. A major consideration in trademark cases is whether readers might confuse the parody with the original. There doesn’t seem to be much chance of that.
Writing at BostInnovation, Lisa DeCanio reports that Occupy Boston Globe is trying to raise $8,000 to launch a daily and a full-color weekly, the latter of which would be published in English and Spanish. There’s already an online version of the paper, which in turn makes reference to a print edition. So maybe the presses have started to roll.
(Thanks to Greg Reibman, whose tweet alerted me to the Metro Boston story.)