By: E&P Staff
In today’s letters, clarifying the Lanham Act, outrage at the FBI’s attempt to look at journalist Jack Anderson’s records, and skepticism that Bush tried to avoid war “to the max.”
Legal Clarification on the Lanham Act
I read Steven Yahn’s April 22, 2006 article entitled New Trademark Law Might Restrict Free Speech and think he misunderstands the proposed amendments to the dilution provisions of the Lanham Act.
The dilution section of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. s. 1125(c), provides that if a trademark is famous, its owner — in addition to a claim for infringement — may bring a separate claim for dilution. There are exceptions to this right: fair use of a famous mark by another person, noncommercial use of a mark, and all forms of news reporting and news commentary are NOT actionable.
While it would be bad for newspapers if the fair use and first amendment exceptions were deleted, these exceptions are present in the proposed amendment to the Lanham Act.
FBI Don’t Know Jack?
The FBI [has] no right to probe into Anderson’s papers when he was alive. Why should they now be able to do so?
That they would even think to do so given that agency’s roots in spying and blackmail (under J. Edgar Hoover), and the current administration’s controversial (make that ‘criminal’) disregard for openness and truth is yet another sign of the need to over-haul Washington’s S.O.P. and personnel.
Pondering Who Should Be Covered by a Shield Law
While pondering many things this last week in regards to our industry and obligation to our readers an issue has come to mind that I have not seen mentioned in any letter or article to date. Over the years of the Bush administration we have seen quite a few leaks to the media which lead to attempts by the government to force journalists to reveal sources and unpublished additional information to the government agents charged with investigating these leaks. These events have lead to demands that the Government create and pass a national shield law to protect journalists from prosecution if they refuse to reveal their sources. The arguments from both sides range from the logical to the ridiculous. However, no one can deny that our fore fathers felt it necessary to establish the Fourth Estate and give the Press certain freedoms. The reasons for doing so are inarguably to protect the citizens of the US from a domineering or corrupt government from reducing or eliminating the rights of the citizens.
However, during the arguments presented on this issue the term journalist who would be protected by this law has not been defined. Should it include columnists and others who write opinions and are not held accountable by the publications they work for to include proof or facts in their columns? Should sports writers who cover what [are] clearly entertainment events provided by what is becoming an assortment of criminals, elitists and egotistical athletes and owners? Finally, what about accountability? There is a saying that goes ?with rewards comes responsibility? . If journalists are going to be given greater rights and power than the citizens they are protecting are there going to be appropriate rules and punishments set up for those who violate the provisions set up under this new shield law? Currently, when a journalist is caught violating the ethics of the industry the worst fate he can expect is to lose his position. However, when any of this countries other elites, (athletes, politicians, doctors etc) our caught violating their industries ethics the media is the first to pounce on the need for greater punishments. For example, Bonds and steroids. Prosecute for perjury and take him out of the record books, force him to retire. But when a journalist is caught there is no cry for greater justice. If journalist our going to be given greater rights there needs to be rules in place to keep them honest. While a majority of journalists may be good decent people trying to look after the rights of the citizens of the US the rules for protection can not be set up that would provide a legal loop hole to those that would use these rights to push their agendas. …
David J. Horchak
Skepticism ‘To the Max’
The only word that comes to mind is “Horsecrap!”
Virtually every sentence Bush utters in this article has already been shown as false. Even printing it is questionable ethically as it contains no warning that hip-boots might be necessary.
Bush continues with the “BIG LIE” theory of government and can only
be called a serial liar at this point.
His statements about the Constitution and terrorism are almost
humorous except that he has treated that Constitution like a rag.
After reading your recent article on George Bush and how he tried to avoid war diplomatically “to the max”, I have decided to start believing in the Tooth Fairy again.
As a judge I require evidence to believe Mr Bush’s many statements, such as: If God told him to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, I wish to know what that God’s name was.