The response to Glenn Beck’s lawyers regarding the Glenn Beck 1990 meme web site has finally been released (pdf) and it’s definitely a good read. In it, the respondent’s lawyer makes his case as to why it was inappropriate for the complaint (pdf) to have gone to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in Geneva. It also asserts that Beck must think his fans are “hurried morons,” if he thinks anyone would confuse this site with his.
“We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent’s website wondering ‘where did all the race baiting content go?’ We are here because Mr. Beck wants Respondent’s website shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent’s website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck’s very rhetorical style.”
The “moron in a hurry” test deals with trademark confusion, in that if a moron were on their way home from a long day at work, and saw the offending message, would they be confused… The response includes the following observation:
“It is specious at best for Mr. Beck to assert that his fans, or the public as a whole, would confuse Respondent’s website with Mr. Beck himself—unless of course it is Mr. Beck’s view that his fans and the average internet user are in fact hurried morons. Respondent presumes that this is not how Mr. Beck regards his audience. And, even if he does so regard his audience, this is not a basis for upholding his complaint.”
Because Beck’s lawyers likely feel they do not have a chance of winning a defamation case in the U.S., they’ve gone to WIPO. Thankfully, for the respondent, WIPO has a track record of rejecting claims of this nature – those that just want to shut down a critical, or satirical, web site. It’s also ironic that Beck, a so-called champion for first amendment rights, or so his followers would have you believe, would choose to bypass U.S. courts and head directly to an international resolution. Beck has said, in the past, “once we sign our rights over to international law, the Constitution is officially dead.”
Thus, this example of the Streisand Effect continues…