Crazy Like a Fox


Ouch! The judge in Fox's trademark infringement suit against Penguin and humorist/author Al Franken, prompted by a parodic book cover that included the words "fair and balanced," has delivered the following rhetorical smackdown:

There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit both factually and legally.

NEXT: Less of Moore

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  1. Well great! Let me have that judge (and that lawyer!) I think I’ll start me a magazine that has “Free Minds and Free Markets” as its subtitle.

    I oughta be able to get away with that, hmm?

  2. If it were an obvious parody that no sane person could confuse with the actual Reason, which would be the appropriate parallel to the instant case, then I would imagine so. Of course, I’ve got no control over the Reason Foundation’s lawyers…

  3. ia!:

    Hey, have it your way.

  4. I’m no big fan of Franken, but you’ve got to admire the way he’s managed to get Fox to promote his book for him.


  5. I believe the slogan “Free Minds and Free Markets” is a paraphrase of something Frank Chodorov originally wrote in praise of Henry George.

  6. I’m no big fan of Franken either, at least in the intellectual realm. But as far as the title itself, he’s dead on. I’m not one to use the term “Orwellian” lightly, but it applies perfectly to the hammering of the phrase “fair and balanced” on a network whose popularity is obviously based on a mentality of conservative retalliation.

  7. Any fans of Franken here at all ?

  8. I’m no big fan of Franken but.
    Just wanted to try that out.

  9. To be fair (if not balanced) to Fox, trademark law does require you to actively defend your trademark, or else you will lose it. By not pursuing this case, there was a small but nonzero probability that somewhere down the line some judge would rule that Fox had lots its trademark.

  10. This wasn’t in the Reuters story, but it’s in Salon’s account. It’s my favorite part of the whole proceeding and illustrates just how ridiculous Fox’s position is:

    In response, the judge pointed out that one of O’Reilly’s own books is titled “The O’Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life.”

    “Is that not a play on “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly?” Chin asked, noting that the movie title is also trademarked.

    “I don’t know,” replied Hanswirth.

  11. Does anybody know if O’Reilly railed against liberal judges the next day ?

  12. This ruling is really in favor of nothing except the protected status of parody / satire, and is more or less ideologically neutral. Dennis Miller should be just as grateful as Franken–neither of whom is especially funny; but then if these weiners were deprived of the right to parody, think what it could do to our beloved Simpsons.

  13. Next up: Clint Eastwood suing Bill O’Reily over a completely ridiculous American book.

  14. I’m a fan of Franken. His humor is hit-or-miss, but when it works it makes me laugh out loud. He punctures the self-important. He also makes fun of himself, which is always a good thing in a satirist. I think of him as the liberal version of P.J. O’Rourke.

  15. id like to see u talk and walk at the same time without tripping and takin out your left eye with your big toe

    u should be able to pull your head outta your ass
    some day in the future

    when the opportunity comes knockin,like u read sumthin about bush,g?rin,himmler and goebbles(billy reily) that shocks u,go with it

    forget what teachers and parents and media and church told u

    think for yourself,the world is bigger than u think

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