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Fox Sues Al Franken!  

post #1 of 282
Thread Starter 
Weird.

Fox objects to Franken's use of the words "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his book, "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right". Fox is suing for copyright or trademark infringement. The New York Times, in To Fox, 'Fair and Balanced' Doesn't Describe Franken, puts the lawsuit in, IMO, its deserved context:
Quote:
In the lawsuit, a judge is being asked to decide an important question: who has the right to use the word "fair" and the word "balanced" together, connected by the word "and"?

Apparently, trademark litigation lawsuits are usually "mundane," but legalese wasn't fair and balanced enough for Fox. So, of course, they personally attacked Franken in the suit! He's "not a well-respected voice in American politics, his views appear shrill or unstable, and he lacks any serious depth or insight."

Well, Newsweek called his book "wickedly funny." The New York Times called it "funny, angry, and intelligent." I'm not sure what to think here. Usually Fox News tells me what to think and tells me what's "fair and balanced."

I'll have to go with Fox on this one. Al Franken, your definition of 'fair and balanced' does not match mine; therefore I, as a large corporation, am suing you, an individual, for satirizing the company's deathly serious (and truthful!) slogan.

So what is this?
Trademark infringement?
Free Speech?
A large corporation suing an openly critical individual because they can?

Fox wants an injunction against the book.
post #2 of 282
i suspect the suit will be thrown out. satire is (or should be) protected.
post #3 of 282
satire provides a pretty large cover here, (protecting franken) but i smell a rat, this is giving al a lot of free press, and is going to sell many books. plus it's getting fox's news division and it's motto a ton of play. it's a win win for both unless fox is totally serious, then they're just wasting money.
post #4 of 282
Does this mean Franken can lead a class action suit against Fox using truth in advertising laws?
"..do you remember where you parked the car?"
"..do you remember where you parked the car?"
post #5 of 282
I told you so. This proves that the media is liberal because they're suing someone! Only liberals sue and are the media.

The above paragraph is protected as satire.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
post #6 of 282
Fox suing someone over the use of the words "fair and balanced".

How ironic. Media assholes.

Aldo is watching....
Aldo is watching....
post #7 of 282
What a bunch of wankers, it's bad enough having News Corp. papers over here, thankfully we don't have Fox news.

"Wankers talking about other wankers and wanking." XamaX

I'll never get back the time i just wasted reading that post." Miami Craig
" It's like you've achieved some kind of irrelevance zen, or...

"Wankers talking about other wankers and wanking." XamaX

I'll never get back the time i just wasted reading that post." Miami Craig
" It's like you've achieved some kind of irrelevance zen, or...

post #8 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by Alex London
What a bunch of wankers, it's bad enough having News Corp. papers over here, thankfully we don't have Fox news.

What is the Sky news reportage like? I know BSkyB is 40% owned by News Corp, but I've heard stories about Murdoch complaining that Sky news is too liberal.
post #9 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by kneelbeforezod
What is the Sky news reportage like? I know BSkyB is 40% owned by News Corp, but I've heard stories about Murdoch complaining that Sky news is too liberal.

Currently pretty fair and balanced (cough).

Not a bad network, although BBC News kicks it up and down.

NOW: the Murdoch newspapers, they really are foul. They are staggeringly anti-Europe for no good reason ... an ex-Ozzie US citizen telling Brits how bad Europe is ...
meh
meh
post #10 of 282
I suspect there's a 0% chance that this gets past
a motion to dismiss.
Rupert Murdoch is a dangerous man.

Thoth
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You can fly?!?
No. Jump good.
post #11 of 282
Quote:
I suspect there's a 0% chance that this gets past
a motion to dismiss.

And what experience do you have that causes you to believe this? It's very likely that Fox will win. It is this very reason that the United States has intellectual property laws protecting trademarks of individuals or corporations.

Whether you like Fox or not, that's no excuse for attempting profit off of their brand.

It's exactly like the guy who attempted to name his store, "Victor's Secret." He was compelled to change the name because it infringed on the trademark rights of Victoria's Secret.

Does anyone here really think that Franken would have used that in his title if it wasn't the slogan of the network news company he crusades against?
post #12 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
And what experience do you have that causes you to believe this? It's very likely that Fox will win. It is this very reason that the United States has intellectual property laws protecting trademarks of individuals or corporations.

Whether you like Fox or not, that's no excuse for attempting profit off of their brand.

It's exactly like the guy who attempted to name his store, "Victor's Secret." He was compelled to change the name because it infringed on the trademark rights of Victoria's Secret.

Does anyone here really think that Franken would have used that in his title if it wasn't the slogan of the network news company he crusades against?

Wrong. He changed the name after being threatened with the lawsuit. After it worked its way through the courts he won at the Supreme Court level.

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwash...on/5314281.htm
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
post #13 of 282
Yes but it's not called Fair and Balanced is it, the "brand" is Fox and I don't see how they can not be seen this as fair comment if they set themselves up as ' fair and balanced' . When it's obvious that they're not.
This reminds me of McDonalds trying to sue people with Mc-whatever, as if they invented or owned the Mac prefix. This gives evil corporations a bad name.

"Wankers talking about other wankers and wanking." XamaX

I'll never get back the time i just wasted reading that post." Miami Craig
" It's like you've achieved some kind of irrelevance zen, or...

"Wankers talking about other wankers and wanking." XamaX

I'll never get back the time i just wasted reading that post." Miami Craig
" It's like you've achieved some kind of irrelevance zen, or...

post #14 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
And what experience do you have that causes you to believe this? It's very likely that Fox will win. It is this very reason that the United States has intellectual property laws protecting trademarks of individuals or corporations.

Whether you like Fox or not, that's no excuse for attempting profit off of their brand.

It's exactly like the guy who attempted to name his store, "Victor's Secret." He was compelled to change the name because it infringed on the trademark rights of Victoria's Secret.

Does anyone here really think that Franken would have used that in his title if it wasn't the slogan of the network news company he crusades against?

You seem to forget that the higher courts ruled that he could keep the original name.

Quote:

"The court in that case was saying, even though they may have a famous mark, Victoria's Secret, and may have a particular association as soon as you hear it, Victor's Secret was not enough--the confusion or potential damage to their mark--to constitute infringement," Wood said.

http://www.crn.com/sections/Breaking...rticleID=43616

Yes, let's try using the truth in your arguments from now on. I know it's difficult when you are trying to put drug addicts in prison but please at least make an attempt.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
post #15 of 282
Any media looks liberal when compared to Fox or any of NewsCorps tabloids.

Scarborough is a tool.
A Fair and Balanced Liberal

John Kerry for President
A Fair and Balanced Liberal

John Kerry for President
post #16 of 282
Quote:
You seem to forget that the higher courts ruled that he could keep the original name.

Actually, no, the court ruled the case remanded for further proceedings based on the decision that the new name

"Victor's Little Secret"

didn't dilute the value of Victoria's Secret. He could keep that name, for now... but not the original


Quote:
I know it's difficult when you are trying to put drug addicts in prison but please at least make an attempt.

what does that mean? First of all, I don't do drug cases. Secondly - so what. Using drugs happens to still be illegal in this country.
post #17 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10 Whether you like Fox or not, that's no excuse for attempting profit off of their brand.[/B]

Ever hear of statutory fair use?

As per § 33(b)(4) of the Lanham Act:
Quote:
defense to a claim of trademark infringement exists where the use of the name, term, or device charged to be an infringement is a use, otherwise than as a mark...of a term or device which is descriptive of and used fairly and in good faith only to describe the goods or services of such party, or their geographic origin.

I would have thought you'd have learned about this kind of stuff in law school (they do require 'federal prosecutors' to go to law school, don't they?).
post #18 of 282
Frivolous lawsuit.
post #19 of 282
Kneel,

If you knew what you were talking about, it would be worth talking to you. You don't, and it isn't.
post #20 of 282
Fox News Channel owns a trademark on "Fair and Balanced"...circa 1995.

I have a friend studying intellectual property law and such...I'll have to ask him what he thinks. My understadning of it is that Franken can;t use that phrase for promotion of a commodity....in this case, a book.

The suit is valid, but I did find the commentary in the suit a bit odd. Don't get me wrong, I think Franken is borderline insane, but to say so in a legal document? I don't know. It might actually hurt the case because if the defense can prove that no reasonable person would take him seriously, it may may get thrown out.

BTW, Franken has had his share of wack job moments. Apparently, he flipped out in public at a table of Fox journalists...using the F Bomb several times and what not. It was so bad they thought it was a gag....but it wasn't.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
post #21 of 282
Must remember never to be fair and balanced ever again.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
post #22 of 282
Satire, like this book cover, is protected under the First Amendment. Otherwise almost no comic could get published. Fox hasn't sued Doonsbury or the millions of websites that use "Fair and Balanced."

I wonder how many times this phrase has been used in books and the internet. Probably thousands of times. To keep a trademark you have to defend it.

Al Franken should counter sue Fox for defamation and libel for calling him "not a well-respected voice in American politics, his views appear shrill or unstable, and he lacks any serious depth or insight."
PC Free Since 1999

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"Don't copy that floppy!"
post #23 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by jante99
Satire, like this book cover, is protected under the First Amendment. Otherwise almost no comic could get published. Fox hasn't sued Doonsbury or the millions of websites that use "Fair and Balanced."

I wonder how many times this phrase has been used in books and the internet. Probably thousands of times. To keep a trademark you have to defend it.

Al Franken should counter sue Fox for defamation and libel for calling him "not a well-respected voice in American politics, his views appear shrill or unstable, and he lacks any serious depth or insight."

I wonder if Fox would sue him for copyright infringement if he turned around and used their characterization of him against them?

As in: "Fox News is not a well-respected voice in American politics, its views appear shrill or unstable, and it lacks any serious depth or insight."
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
post #24 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by jante99
Satire, like this book cover, is protected under the First Amendment. Otherwise almost no comic could get published. Fox hasn't sued Doonsbury or the millions of websites that use "Fair and Balanced."

I wonder how many times this phrase has been used in books and the internet. Probably thousands of times. To keep a trademark you have to defend it.

Al Franken should counter sue Fox for defamation and libel for calling him "not a well-respected voice in American politics, his views appear shrill or unstable, and he lacks any serious depth or insight."

You don't get it. Let me put it this way. He's using a trademarked phrase to sell something. That's like you trying to sell your own brand of soda with the phrase "Just for the taste of it". Now, you can certainly drink your soda "just for the taste of it" and when asked you why you drink it, you can tell others. You can even make a joke about it. But, you can't use that phrase to sell something.

That's really the end of it. They own the phrase. This has nothing to do with our political views...though some here would like to make it have something to do with them.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
post #25 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
Kneel,

If you knew what you were talking about, it would be worth talking to you. You don't, and it isn't.

Is this really necessary?

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
post #26 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by SDW2001
You don't get it. Let me put it this way. He's using a trademarked phrase to sell something. That's like you trying to sell your own brand of soda with the phrase "Just for the taste of it". Now, you can certainly drink your soda "just for the taste of it" and when asked you why you drink it, you can tell others. You can even make a joke about it. But, you can't use that phrase to sell something.

That's really the end of it. They own the phrase. This has nothing to do with our political views...though some here would like to make it have something to do with them.

SDW defending Fox. Gee. Who would ever have predicted this?

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
post #27 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
Is this really necessary?

He'd be 'fair and balanced', but the law doesn't let him.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
post #28 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by SDW2001
Fox News Channel owns a trademark on "Fair and Balanced"...circa 1995.

I have a friend studying intellectual property law and such...I'll have to ask him what he thinks. My understadning of it is that Franken can;t use that phrase for promotion of a commodity....in this case, a book.

The statutory fair use defense prevents trademark owners from monopolizing a descriptive word or phrase. Franken can argue that he is describing his book as 'a fair and balanced look at the right' rather than trying to usurp Fox's 'Fair and Balanced' trademark. The key issues are (1) whether or not the term 'fair and balanced' can be used to describe Franken's book and (2) whether Franken's intention in using the term 'fair and balanced' was to foster identification with Fox.


Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
Kneel,

If you knew what you were talking about, it would be worth talking to you. You don't, and it isn't.

I'll take it that you hadn't heard of statutory fair use then...funny, it is usually a requirement that you take one or two IP classes.
post #29 of 282
Thread Starter 
The book has now risen to #4 on Amazon.com's Sales Rank!

Take a look at this sales chart courtesy of JungleScan.com. Sales are up 744%. Nice job, Fox.
post #30 of 282
Quote:
Don't get me wrong, I think Franken is borderline insane, but to say so in a legal document? I don't know. It might actually hurt the case because if the defense can prove that no reasonable person would take him seriously, it may may get thrown out.

Actually, this is exactly the point they have to prove.... if you can prove that association with your trademark would blur or tarnish it, you can protect your trademark against such use.
post #31 of 282
Quote:
I'll take it that you hadn't heard of statutory fair use then...funny, it is usually a requirement that you take one or two IP classes.

Actually, no this is exactly my point. This isn't covered by fair use. He's not attempting to parody Fox News (ie: Saturday Night Live) he's attempting to use someone else's trademark for his own promotional, and personal gain.
post #32 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
Actually, no this is exactly my point. This isn't covered by fair use. He's not attempting to parody Fox News (ie: Saturday Night Live) he's attempting to use someone else's trademark for his own promotional, and personal gain.

Um, no he is doing satire.
post #33 of 282
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
Actually, no this is exactly my point. This isn't covered by fair use. He's not attempting to parody Fox News (ie: Saturday Night Live) he's attempting to use someone else's trademark for his own promotional, and personal gain.

Al Franken got away with "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat, Idiot." I'm sure his legal team is up to the task of defending an obvious parody. No reasonable person will confuse Franken's use of "Fair and Balanced" here.
post #34 of 282
I think we need some legislation to curb these ridiculous excesses in litigiousness.
post #35 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
Actually, no this is exactly my point. This isn't covered by fair use. He's not attempting to parody Fox News (ie: Saturday Night Live) he's attempting to use someone else's trademark for his own promotional, and personal gain.

Franken may well argue that he is parodying Fox news, but I believe that describing his book as fair and balanced constitutes statutory fair use (aka classic fair use) because 'fair and balanced' is a generic descriptive term.
post #36 of 282
Or we could just sic the FTC on fox for false advertising.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
post #37 of 282
I've decided to trademark the following:

Safe and sound.™
Warm and dry.™
How's it going?™
Looks good to me.™
It'll never work.™
Absolutely not!™

And I sue the pants off anyone who uses any of these without... My Express Permission.™
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Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
post #38 of 282
Quote:
Originally posted by Shawn
Al Franken got away with "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat, Idiot." I'm sure his legal team is up to the task of defending an obvious parody. No reasonable person will confuse Franken's use of "Fair and Balanced" here.

rush, in fact lost a bunch of weight because of the title.
post #39 of 282
I saw the C-Span show live with Al and O'Reilly on an author panel a couple months ago. Franken previewed the book for the first time (with a live audience too) and O'Reilly totally flipped-out. It became a WWF cage match for a while. Fun to watch...
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post #40 of 282
Sales up 6900% and now ranked #3. Thank you Fox!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...563084-9464010
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