Free Speech

Anti-War Shirt Banned

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The Arizona Senate has unanimously passed a resolution banning the "Bush Lied, They Died" t-shirts from sale in the state. The shirts include the names of hundreds of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in fine print, which legislators apparently find unseemly, and which they say makes the shirts commercial speech, instead of political speech, which the Supreme Court says enjoys more First Amendment protection.

I have a hard time believing that argument will hold up in court. The shirts are pretty clearly political speech. The message itself isn't commercial at all. Under this standard, states could ban the sale of any shirt with a message the government doesn't like.

The shirts have already been banned in Oklahoma and Louisiana, and Rep. David Dan Boren is pushing legislation for a federal ban. Buy yours here.

NEXT: First Statewide Trans Fat Ban Looks Likely

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  1. Is David Boren the same David Boren who was Governor of Oklahoma and more recently the president of Oklahoma University?

  2. Freedom is slavery, guys. And remember, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

  3. Yes. The ban is unconstitutional. The t-shirt clearly does not contain hate speech. Now if “They” meant victims of Islamic terrorism, the ban should stick.

  4. I definitely wouldn’t buy one of those shirts if it weren’t for the fact that it is being banned. I’m leaning towards it now, but $22 bucks is a lot for a t-shirt. Either that or I’m just cheap. It’s probably the latter.

  5. Finkelstein

    Yes. The ban is unconstitutional. The t-shirt clearly does not contain hate speech. Now if “They” meant victims of Islamic terrorism, the ban should stick.

    I’m confused. Why should the ban stick in that case?

  6. If the outline of a state is square, avoid that state. Except for the western border, Arizona is pretty much one to avoid. Louisiana has a hard right angle plus two parallel lines. Oklahoma never had a chance….

  7. Unaminously? Seriously? Not one freaking legislator had the wherewithal to step up? I’m gobsmacked. Does AZ have an oath of office? Can they be bounced for malfeasance?

  8. Lamar,
    What about Missouri? I’ve been here since last Oct.

  9. The Rule of Law (or the rule of SHAH…in our case) allows the government to do what ever it feels like until (a couple of years later) the courts rule it unconstitutional.

  10. “The shirts include the names of hundreds of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in fine print, which legislators apparently find unseemly, and which they say maks the shirts commercial speech, instead of political speech….”

    Of course it’s commercial speech; there are words on the shirt, and the shirt costs money.

  11. Wouldn’t it have been simpler and smarter to rule that you could only sell a T-shirt containing someone’s likeness if you obtained a waiver from the individual whose likeness is being used?

    That gets rid of this T-shirt, but does so on sustainable grounds. Or does this state legislature just plain old enjoy having its legislation challenged?

  12. Oh wait. It’s little tiny names, not little tiny pictures. My bad.

  13. The shirts include the names of hundreds of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in fine print, which legislators apparently find unseemly, and which they say maks the shirts commercial speech, instead of political speech, which the Supreme Court says enjoys more First Amendment protection.

    No, they’re saying that because the shirts are being sold to make a profit, they are commercial in nature. The question seems to be whether or not you can profit by selling shirts with people’s names on them.

    Personally, I disagree but let’s at least be clear on what the rationale was.

    I think Mr. Balko was being a little disingenuous on this one.

  14. I’m not a First Amendment scholar, so maybe someone can help me out here. What if they gave the shirts away and asked for a suggested donation of $22?

  15. Aren’t newspapers sold for a profit?
    Books?
    Magazines?
    Speeches?
    All covered under the First Amendment.

  16. I missed the part where speech can be banned if it has a commercial aspect. Under that assumption every newspaper or media outlet could be censored.

  17. ed beat me to it…congratulations, ed, YOU WIN. 🙂

  18. Will we be seeing a ban on shirts representing the Viet Nam Memorial? Or shirts with the names of the “Heroes of Flight 93?”

    ps- beatcha, Dan T

  19. Maybe they could get trans fat added to the names. Would it be political speech then?

  20. Aren’t newspapers sold for a profit?
    Books?
    Magazines?
    Speeches?

    You don’t wear magazines. Except maybe on laundry day. And if you wear a speech you must be hung like an aphid.

  21. I fail to see the relevance of whether it’s commercial or political speech: it’s neither fraudulent nor deceptive, represents no danger to public health, safety, or security, and it’s content is public record. Since in this country you cannot libel the dead, ipso facto no defamation is possible.

    Passed unanimously!?!?*%$#@!!
    Unfreaking believable.

  22. The shirts are pretty clearly political speech.

    You’re an unprincipled shit, Balko.

    It’s no more “clearly political” than “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” was, as neither propositionally advocates for or against any policy, and you reveled in the Court’s ruling that speech “unprotected” for that very reason.

    That was last week, for fuck’s sake.

  23. There is no legal question on whether you can turn a profit off of names on a shirt. The politicos are using that as an excuse to strip the shirt of its freedom of speech protections. Spurious control freakery at its worse.

    After all these years in Iraq, we still can’t admit that we were conned by our mealy mouthed POTUS. Not even on a t-shirt, much less in the halls of power.

  24. I missed the part where speech can be banned if it has a commercial aspect.

    A long line of cases has led us to the point where just about anything can be banned if it can be classified as ‘commercial’. These stem from things like “truth in advertising” and limitations on size and placement of billboards and other advertising restrictions.

  25. Will we be seeing a ban on shirts representing the Viet Nam Memorial?

    Of course not, silly. That’s an Official Government Sanctioned and Funded Monument, not a crass bit of free enterprise (and speech).

  26. It’s no more “clearly political” than “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” was

    Uh, maybe in your world.


  27. You’re an unprincipled shit, Balko.

    It’s no more “clearly political” than “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” was, as neither propositionally advocates for or against any policy, and you reveled in the Court’s ruling that speech “unprotected” for that very reason.

    That was last week, for fuck’s sake.

    Um, first, I didn’t “revel” in that decision. I wrote that I wish it had gone the other way. I only stated that I didn’t think it was the best case for the anti-drug movement to rally around.

    Second, this is an anti-war t-shirt criticizing the president for misleading the public before the war. The Bong Hits case involved a cryptic placard, and the kid flat out admitted there was nothing political about it.

    Third, the context for that case was what actions public school administrators could and couldn’t take against speech that was either political or merely disruptive.

    This is a law aimed at banning the sale of a t-shirt in an entire state, or across the entire country.

    I don’t see anything remotely similar about the two, other than that both involve free speech.

  28. So if you printed your own shirt, that would be okay? Or if the makers offered to give the shirts for free to residents of states where they are banned?

    What about all those people who were selling miniature American flags after Sept. 11? Were they not profiting from a tragedy?

    So many questions, so little brains.

  29. Here is the basic Central Hudson Gas & Electric v Public Service Commission test for regulation of commercial speech:

    Regulations affecting commercial speech do not, according to the Court, violate the First Amendment if:

    1. The regulated speech concerns an illegal activity,
    2. The speech is misleading, or
    3. The government’s interest in restricting the speech is substantial, the regulation in question directly advances the government’s interest, and the regulation is no more extensive than necessary to serve the government’s interest.

    Typically, commercial speech itself has been defined as speech about a product for sale in commerce. As the writing on the shirt is not about the shirt itself, I doubt these prohibitions can pass even that threshold test.

  30. Chimp Shape: you’re the disingenuous prick. (1) The student in the Bong Hits case admitted that the words were “just nonsense meant to attract television cameras” (his words, not mine), and he didn’t argue that he was making a political statement. (2) The Bong Hits banner was not banned. The holding was restricted to what speech schools may restrict during school events. By contrast, the Arizona law prohibits speech for all.

    Before you post again, please know what the hell you’re talking about. This isn’t Wonkette.

  31. Dammit, Balko. You’re too quick. 8)

  32. It seems that Chimp-Shaped Memory Hole’s problem is that too often libertarian commentators focus on policy issues or get bogged down in questions about whether the speech was in a public high school, whether the speech is commercial, etc.

    Perhaps people like RB do this because we already know what the dogmatic libertarian response is … so they argue the policy or on the terms of the government lovin’ types.

  33. Suppose I decide to form a non-profit entity, with its specified aim to remove the sitting President from office. Suppose, further, that I offer to send you, in return for your donation to my non-profit, a t-shirt which will serve as your demonstration of membersip in my movement.

    What then?

    See you in court, Senator!

  34. Chimp Shape: you’re the disingenuous prick. (1) The student in the Bong Hits case admitted that the words were “just nonsense meant to attract television cameras” (his words, not mine), and he didn’t argue that he was making a political statement. (2) The Bong Hits banner was not banned. The holding was restricted to what speech schools may restrict during school events. By contrast, the Arizona law prohibits speech for all.

    Before you post again, please know what the hell you’re talking about. This isn’t Wonkette.

    To put it less abrasively than Chimp Shape Monkey, why should we, as libertarians, care about the differences betweem commercial speech, political speech, hate speech, etc.

    And don’t anyone trot out what the First Amendment means or does not mean. I don’t care. Wouldn’t it be preferable to live in a society that doesn’t make these distinctions?

    Free speech should mean free speech.

  35. My question is what about the names? Don’t the estates of those soldiers have a right to control the use of their names in public? If it were my child or wife on that t-shirt, I would have a fucking cow about it. Who gave these pricks the right to use my loved one’s name in some political statement? I will be the first to admit that I don’t know shit about copywrite law, but I would curious to hear what someone who does has to say about this. I was always under the impression that you own the rights or estate owns the rights to the use of your name or likness. If that is true, how do these pricks get off using all of those names without their estate’s permission?

  36. I have to agree with John. Constitutional arguments aside, the people making this t-shirt are unprincipled shits, and regardless of the idiocy of the legislation, there’s no reason to encourage people to purchase them, Radley!

  37. I had never heard of these t-shirts until now, but as a resident of Arizona, it seems to be my duty to buy one.

  38. I was always under the impression that you own the rights or estate owns the rights to the use of your name or likness. If that is true, how do these pricks get off using all of those names without their estate’s permission?

    There may be a cause of action for privacy intrusion, but it’s not a copyright issue at all. Names aren’t copyrighted.

    ObTopic: I would have a much more forceful opinion about this t-shirt if I gave a rat’s ass about the troops.

  39. Taking JKP’s encouragement to purchase.

    *Now where is Mr. Underhill’s credit card…

  40. I don’t get the argument that this is commercial speech. A “McCain in ’08!” t-shirt purchased from his campaign website is unquestionably political speech, I see no distinction between that shirt and this anti-Iraq War one, at least as far as the category of speech goes.

  41. John–

    If the soldiers were still alive, there’s probably something they could sue for, like invasion of privacy or something similar. But they’re dead, and with a few limited exceptions, the dead have no rights. I suppose it’s conceivable that survivors could sue, but they’d have to establish that they were actually injured. (For example, the reason that the survivors are allowed to sue for wrongful death is that they lose, among other things, the companionship and wages of the deceased.) I suppose they could sue for IIED, but that’s a tough hurdle to clear.

  42. John,

    That’s simply not true. Otherwise, all the TV shows that roll a list of troops killed in Iraq & Afghanistan, and all the places that read off the names of those killed on 9/11 on the anniversaries, would be in deep shit. The fact that these individuals were killed in Iraq is a matter of public record, so there’s no privacy issues.

  43. Commercial speech is quite highly protected. In fact, the distinction between commercial speech and other forms of speech has declined over the years. The big exception is that government can regulate commercial speech that is fraudulent or misleading. And even that standard, I believe, applies to misleading remarks (direct or indirect) about the product that you are selling. What’s misleading about the content here in the context of selling a shirt? The names are inaccurate?

    In any event, this will be struck down with mighty force, once anyone gets to court with it. It’s viewpoint discrimination, for one, and it’s also prior restraint. For those who are offended by the shirt, just remember that speech cases usually are about speech that offends someone. For the rest of you, you can buy the shirt, then burn it.

  44. From TFA:

    On April 20, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, signed into law HB2643, creating penalties for the commercial use of a soldier’s names or likeness without consent from the soldier or the soldier’s family.

    And it looks like the LA and AZ laws are similarly crafted, so they’re not specifically banning this shirt, and news media are exempted. It would be interesting to see if the OK and LA laws have been enforced yet, as they’ve been on the books for at least 9 months…I can’t find any evidence that anyone’s been prosecuted.

  45. My question is what about the names? Don’t the estates of those soldiers have a right to control the use of their names in public?

    I don’t know the insanity that is intellectual property law, but from a lay perspective I don’t see how anyone can ‘own’ a name. It’s got to be public record – it’s how you refer to a person. It seems infinitely unweildy to seek permission from each and every person ever to print their name, John err, fellow poster on Hit & Run this blog. What Mr. Balko gah! You get the point.

    Also, if these t-shirts are infringing on the deceased’s estates’ intellectual property, can’t that be handled through normal channels in the courts? And wouldn’t this ban still prohibit the deceased’s families from forming a corporation to sell t-shirts expressing this view?

  46. I’m usually one for subtlety when possible, so I think I’d prefer a shirt with the text “…They Died” or “They Died” without the preface “Bush Lied”. Either that or its just the hold-out ex-war supporter in me that is still iffy on the Bush-Lied/Bush-Fucked-Up debate.

  47. don’t anyone trot out what the First Amendment means or does not mean. I don’t care.

    Cool! Will there be crowded theaters? I’m shoutin’!

  48. i have to agree that “they died” would have been a better choice.

    we all know who lied by now, right?

    that the names are too small to read is part of the statement, actually, and intentional or not is somewhat clever.

    “Who gave these pricks the right to use my loved one’s name in some political statement?”

    the next time you invoke the holocaust or the gulag you better be prepared to face a class action lawsuit by the dead.

  49. I don’t see how anyone can ‘own’ a name

    Can you register your name as a service mark? Apparently you can.
    > The U.S. Department of Commerce Patent & Trademark office has granted
    > preliminary approval to a 3 page application by actor Leonardo DiCaprio
    > to register his name as a service mark.

    Anybody know what ever became of this?

  50. There were several cases in the late 60’s that determined anti-war symbols or slogans on clothing were protected speech. (I can’t remember the names of the cases, but one involved a T-shirt saying “Fuck the Draft” worn in a court house and the other concerned Moritorium black armbands in school. I’m on vacation on the West Coast and refuse to look up anything legal.) Anyway, if the law condemns the “Bush Lied . . . ” part, it’s quite clearly unconstitutional under existing law.

    I find it very easy, however, to believe that the Roberts Court will find a way to weasel out of the clear precedent by focusing on the names. I think most of those laws protecting dead soldiers’ names were misguided attempts to stop Westboro Baptist Church from being obnoxious at soldiers’ funerals. (Which, by the way, is still a bad reason for a law. The cops can keep Freddie and the Dimwits away from the gravesite. Otherwise, the proper response from mourners is a hearty “Fuck Off, Asshole!!!”) Still, the Court could determine that soldiers’ estates have property rights in the use of the names and require the T-shirt makers to get a release from every single family.

  51. Instead of having a cow about reprinting the names of dead soldiers, shouldn’t you be having a cow about the doomed and needless war that got them killed in the first place?

  52. Don’t the estates of those soldiers have a right to control the use of their names in public?

    Perhaps if the names were unique and the named were famous or had trademarked them in some way, but good luck to the family of Bob Jones who takes umbrage and pursues legal means. That is, if they disagree with the message. They might not.

  53. D.A. Ridgely: “As the writing on the shirt is not about the shirt itself,”

    I am sorely tempted to make a shirt that has the same front as this shirt, and on the back says “This shirt is a political message.” Just to see what the courts will do with that recursion.

  54. “…good luck to the family of Bob Jones….”

    Bob Evans, on the other hand…

  55. “””Don’t the estates of those soldiers have a right to control the use of their names in public? “””

    No. Your name is a matter of public record. I might add, lists our names and other information are sold all the time. I would like to see a royality when that happens.

  56. I’m not sure how this shirt is considered bad. Isn’t displaying the names of those who sacrificed honorable? We do it all the time in the name of honor. What difference is it if the material is marble or a cotton mix. I would argue a T-shirt a better way of promoting those who sacraficed than a marble stone in a park.

  57. If the other side of the shirt says “Bush lied” Then it’s political speech. SCOTUS recently rule a more offensive shirt with Bush’s name, drinks and drugs, was in fact political and could not be censored by the school.

  58. I submit that the loved ones aren’t upset that the names of their dead soldiers are being displayed. They are mad that the names are being displayed for a cause that they don’t personally believe in. If the shirts said “honoring our fallen heros” they’d be all over it. Unfortunately for them, the names of the soldiers are associated with the Iraq war, not a particular position on that war.

  59. A trademark, a copyright, and libel are all different things.

    A famous actor with a unique name may be able to trademark their name (as above), and a living person may sue for libel, and a famous dead person’s estate can own all likenesses of that person as a copyright and/or trademark for a limited time, but this is none of the above.

    Or if it is now, thanks to kneejerk activist jingoist lawmakers, it’s kind of a shame.

    Also, if the names are too small to read, you may have a hard time proving that your loved one’s name is actually being smeared.

    Copyright and trademark are both complicated and often case-by-case, but this should fall under 1st amendment protected speech with no problems, as long as we don’t live under some sort of fascist dictatorship where no one is allowed to disagree with The Leader.

    Oh wait. We’re screwed.

  60. My question is what about the names? Don’t the estates of those soldiers have a right to control the use of their names in public? If it were my child or wife on that t-shirt, I would have a fucking cow about it. Who gave these pricks the right to use my loved one’s name in some political statement?

    If you see something that offends you, you must ban it. How very enlightened. How very adult. Jesus, you probably have to be six inches away and look for ten minutes to find a particular name. Just ignore it.

  61. You are exactly right Lamar. It is not the use of the names per say it is the use of the names to further a cause they disagree with. To put the shoe on the other foot, if the name of a dead loved one of yours were used in a pro-Bush ad, my guess is you would be pissed off about it or if not you, most people of your political persuasion would be.

    Someone above said they might care if they gave a rat’s ass about the troops. That is probably a typical view of the kind slugs who buy these shirts. The shirt is extremely disingenuous. The implication is that those people died and that means something. In fact, the names on that shirt mean nothing to people who made it. They don’t give a shit about any of the people on it, they just want to be assholes. If they are so fucking concerned about people dying, how about volunteering for a veteran’s group to help the survivors left behind. Do you think the assholes who did this shirt would do that? No way. If anything, the people who made this shirt of fucking happy those people died. If they hadn’t and things had gone perfectly, they wouldn’t have any tragedy and dead bodies to exploit. In the end, if I actually thought these people cared about anything other than being assholes or gave a shit about anyone whose name is actually on the shirt, I might not be offended. As it is, I know their game and they can fuck themselves.

    Back to the names issue, obviously as the law stands now you can’t claim copywrite on your name. However, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about a state giving that protection. That seems to be what is going on here. You can still say “Bush Lied People Died” or whatever you want, you just can’t use other people’s names to do so. It is not a free speech issue.

  62. And it looks like the LA and AZ laws are similarly crafted, so they’re not specifically banning this shirt, and news media are exempted. It would be interesting to see if the OK and LA laws have been enforced yet, as they’ve been on the books for at least 9 months…I can’t find any evidence that anyone’s been prosecuted.

    So it would still be acceptable to use non-soldiers names? (Really who would know?) Or to have black lines redacting the names?

  63. However, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about a state giving that protection. That seems to be what is going on here. You can still say “Bush Lied People Died” or whatever you want, you just can’t use other people’s names to do so. It is not a free speech issue.

    Im no expert, but isn’t copyright one of those things that is the domain of the feds? Isn’t copyright stuff in the constitution ? Article 1, Section 8?

  64. How can copyright even apply in this case? The names of soldiers who died in Iraq are now part of the historical record, and you can’t copyright historical facts.

  65. “How can copyright even apply in this case? The names of soldiers who died in Iraq are now part of the historical record, and you can’t copyright historical facts.”

    But it is using their name for your profit. There was a case where people sold comemerative caskets of all things for Martin Luther King (it was actually done without irony and meant to be tribute to King. It had to be the tackiest chochkie ever made). The King family sued arguing that it owned the rights to the name and the company in question couldn’t make a profit from using the King name. I think that is ananogous to this. They company is selling shirts using the names of the dead soldiers to make money. If the shirt didn’t have the names on it, it would just be another dumb ass shirt. Clearly the names are part of the appeal. How is that any different than selling comemorative MLK stuff? Granted the King family had probably registered the MKL name. If that is the case and my kid’s name is on that shirt, I am taking out a trademark on his name and suiing these fuckers until they die.

  66. “So it would still be acceptable to use non-soldiers names? (Really who would know?) Or to have black lines redacting the names?”

    I don’t see how that would be an issue. What is offensive is the use of the name, not the point being made.

  67. But it is using their name for your profit.

    Which is exactly what newspapers do. And textbook publishers. Doonesbury has also run strips with the names of the dead. And Trudeau makes money off his strip.

    Are you trying to argue that history itself can be copyrighted?

    The King family sued arguing that it owned the rights to the name

    Did they win?

  68. “””But it is using their name for your profit”””

    John, companies sell your name and other information to other companies all the time for a profit. That’s a purely commercial transaction and it not illegal for them to do so.

    It’s not wrong to display the names of the dead, we do that all the time to honor those who have died for the cause. If anything, one could argue it’s the politics of the shirt that make it offensive.

    Would you have a different opinion of the shirt if it said “These brave warriors sacrificed for us all”?

  69. John,

    You’re right I’d be pissed off. Being pissed off doesn’t take away the free speech rights of the pisser offers. I would argue that the only speech that needs protection is speech that pisses off people.

  70. “The King family sued arguing that it owned the rights to the name

    Did they win?”

    Yes they did. Like I said above, if my kids name were on the shirt, I would take out a trademark on the name and sue the living shit out of them.

  71. “Would you have a different opinion of the shirt if it said “These brave warriors sacrificed for us all”?”

    I wouldn’t but someone who objected to the war and lost a son may have a different view and I wouldn’t blame them for being angry about it. The point is why is so hard to leave the dead out of it?

    Lamar,

    In can see your objection to using the law to stop this. I suppose the better sollution is for the people whose kids names are on those shirts to just go and beat the living shit out of the assholes who made the shirts. That is after all a private action not a governmental one. You may go to jail, but who cares, if you lost your kid it is not like you are going to be happy anyway and frankly I can’t think of a more noble reason to go to jail than beating the living crap out of one of these weasels.

  72. Beating the shit out of someone because of a t-shirt reeks of displaced anger. Why would a grieving parent be more pissed at someone with one of these shirts than the people that got their kid killed in the first place?

    Oh, yeah… forgot about the Secret Service.

  73. Yes they did. Like I said above, if my kids name were on the shirt, I would take out a trademark on the name and sue the living shit out of them.

    And yet I suspect that a T-shirt with a list of names meant to convey a message–even one you disagree with, like “They Died”–is in a different category than some piece-of-crap collectible plate with MLK’s face on it. I doubt publishers have to pay the King family for using MLK’s name in their books, and I’d be willing to bet that a T-shiot with his face and name, the words “In memoriam” and his birth and death dates would be fine. The man’s name now belongs to history. So does the name of everybody who died on the bullshit assumption that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks.

    I can’t think of a more noble reason to go to jail than beating the living crap out of one of these weasels.

    How about beating the living crap out of the weasels who started the war that caused said kids to die in the first place, rather than blaming the messenger who merely points out they are, in fact, dead?

  74. Whatever you do, don’t tell the relatives of Che Guevara about this.

  75. John,

    How much money do you send to Nancy every time you use the name Reagan to score a political point?

  76. “””The point is why is so hard to leave the dead out of it?”””

    Because the dead are a part of it. It seems to me you’re arguing on the basis that you don’t like it. Personally I don’t care if you do or not, nor if I do, or not for that matter. Politically protected free speech is covered by the 1st amendment. SCOTUS recently upheld that. You or I hating it is irrelevent.

  77. “””I suppose the better sollution is for the people whose kids names are on those shirts to just go and beat the living shit out of the assholes who made the shirts.”””

    So violence against someone engaging in Constitutional protected speech is a good idea to you?

  78. I guess we’d better hope that John never sees this.

  79. However, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about a state giving that protection.

    Im no expert, but isn’t copyright one of those things that is the domain of the feds? Isn’t copyright stuff in the constitution ? Article 1, Section 8?

    Correct.

  80. I’ll be leaving America in two weeks after living here for twenty years. This discussion (not the topic, just the abysmal level of debate) is one of the things I am getting away from.

  81. “I guess we’d better hope that John never sees this.”

    Holy Crap, Tacos- that is one of the awesomest (and scariest) things I’ve seen in a while. Thanks.

  82. Someone above said they might care if they gave a rat’s ass about the troops. That is probably a typical view of the kind slugs who buy these shirts. The shirt is extremely disingenuous.

    No offense, but fuck off, John. I care about the troops, but those people died when Bush and his administration intentionally inflated their intel about Iraq. And this shirt is disingenuous? Something about administrations without sin casting the first stone in the glass house.

  83. I have the 1940s shirt, “FDR LIED, THEY DIED,” with all 500,000 or so U.S. casualties. It’s a lot bigger, but just as effective in combating U.S. imperialism.

    The President deliberately provoked a war with Japan, and Germany never even attacked us!

  84. WAR. IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER!

  85. Actually, the issue is whether or not the businessman in question has the right to use the names and/or images of dead soldiers (indeed, of anyon ) without the permission of the estate and/or heirs.

  86. Doctor Duck: Shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre usually doesn’t fall under the control of the First Amendment anyway, as “free speech” does not apply to private property. But even if we assume the existence of a public crowded theatre, while the First Amendment should protect your right to shout “fire”, there is still plenty of liability to be dealt out as a result of inciting unwarranted panic and causing injury. I’m thinking that it would be a tort, but IANAL.

    Whatever the exact legal aspects are, even in a world where the First was truly sacrosanct, causing injury and death by inciting a panic in an enclosed are would still carry consequences.

  87. John is mad. He wants to lash out at “fuckers” and “weasels.” You know – people who disagree with him.

    If he’s angry about this rotten war, then he should lash out at Bush, not imitate him by promoting Hitlerian attitudes.

    John? They died because Bush lied. Come beat the shit out of me, out of all of us.

  88. “””Actually, the issue is whether or not the businessman in question has the right to use the names and/or images of dead soldiers (indeed, of anyon ) without the permission of the estate and/or heirs.””””

    As far as I can tell, this issue has been settled. Your name is a matter of public record, therefore you can’t trademark or copyright a name. I’m guessing that if you could copyright a name, say John David Smith, then no other Smith could name their kid John David.

    Companies sell you informaion all the time and you can’t do squat about it. You can put companies on the do not call registry but that doesn’t exclude them from selling your information.

    Actors of the Hollywood type have been trying to get law that would allow them to copyright their face so no media rag could use it without their permission. They have failed to do so far.

    I would also argue that the names of service men and women who die in war are part of a public record.

  89. Soldiers who die in war may even count as public federal employees dying in the course of federal employment, real weak copyright; but all that suggests why intellectual property laws are in themselves suspect.

    In Pakistan, the Sunni religious establishment prohibit the Ahmadi sect from displaying quotes from the Quran because it is copyrighted only for Muslims.

  90. “I think your son Bob Doe III died as a result of falsifications by the President.”

    How in the world can anyone feel that such sentiments are protected by the letter or spirit of free speech constitution, when clearly there’s a copyright infringment there?

    Geez, have we regressed back past the pre-reclution Zenger case? http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/zenger/freespeech.htm

    Is no traditional freedom now surrenderable in protecting the sacredness of the Jihad against Terror?

    What’s next, tovarische? Hey there are libel laws and you can’t slander the state?

  91. “Is no traditional freedom now surrenderable in protecting the sacredness of the Jihad against Terror?”

    should be “Is every . . .”

    and “pre-revolution Zenger case”

  92. My controversial anti war art is being unconstitutionally regulated by new Texas law sb 277

    Hello I am an Austin resident and an artist. Last year I created a work of very controversial war art that is now about to come under unconstitutional regulation.

    Is is an image of Bush mergered or made up with the names of fallen soldiers along with some brief but poignant text about the prewar lies and deception around the image as a border. In large words is “Bush Lied They Died” September 1st Texas will become the 5th State to regulate my anti war art, a constitutionally protected article of Core Political Speech, afforded the highest protections under the law above and beyond Commercial Speech, which can be regulated only as to its accuracy.

    Although some states have outright banned the use of these names in any commercial item, and although the committee reports dealing with the Texas law talk of prohibiting commercial use, the law only specifically bans the use of soldiers names in any type of advertisement with exception for news media, which by the way are pushing a commercial product, the news they produce and disseminate across the airwaves, presses, and the Net.

    According to Texas SB 277, it will become illegal for me to advertise even the giving away of my art, if I use the image in question as a display sample of what I wish to share with people. This is an illegal regulation of my Free Speech rights.

    Names in the public record are fair game to use. I don’t slander the names, I pay homage to them in a statement that is obviously intended as commentary designed to keep there from being any more names to use, as happens every day now with more lives lost in a misguided illegal war.

    I am currently making available signed prints and a public domain copy of my original Core Political Speech/Art in person and on the Internet. To advertise doing so in public by holding a copy of my art while giving away or selling other copies will be against the law. Showing any version of my art in my web site will be illegal if I am using this showing to encourage downloading of a free image or purchase of a print. Surely this will be overturned.

    Regards
    Vincent D K Greene
    bushliedtheydied.com

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