Oakland Tribune Afraid of Losing Even More Subscribers to Occupy Oakland Tribune

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Making news is one way to increase your readership
In a fun twist of irony, the Oakland Tribune newspaper is attempting to quash the freedom of speech of another local news outlet, with a cease and desist order sent earlier this week.

According to writers at the newly established activist paper, the Occupy Oakland Tribune, the other Tribune is demanding the smaller news outlet disable its content and stop using the word "Tribune" in its name, saying it "tarnishes and diminishes the value" of the city's flagship paper.

The Occupy Oakland Tribune started in November, a few days before the Occupy Oakland movement held a general strike where thousands of protesters filled the streets and shut down banks and the Port of Oakland. With only a few hundred daily readers, the online and print newspaper covers the Occupy Movement and pens commentary on activism, cultural issues, and the mainstream media. To date, it's printed two editions.

But the Trib's obvious threat by the amateur new outlet should perhaps be viewed as nothing more than a sad commentary on the declining state of print media. Is the Trib really that worried about losing more subscribers?

The Occupy Trib isn't concerned about it. Taking a lesson from the Occupy Movement itself, Occupy Oakland Tribune writers happily told BANG executives where they could shove their daily news.

"There is no way we are going to be intimidated by the Bay Area News Group," said Scott Johnson, who founded the Occupy Oakland Tribune. "This is just another effort by the 1percent to push around the 99 percent."

It's worth noting that the newspaper industry reporters are hardly part of the 1 percent, but we digress.

Johnson pointed out that there is no way for consumer confusion between the two media outlets, which have completely different formats, graphics, font, and layout. Moreover, the banner of the Occupy Trib clearly distinguishes itself as "Occupied," referencing Occupy Oakland and the 99 percent. "Oakland readers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between these two extremely different publications," the paper states.

Additionally, the Occupy Tribune isn't sold, but rather handed out for free at protests organized by Occupy Oakland. Thus, trademark law does not apply, Johnson said.

"We are not afraid of a lawsuit," Johnson said. "And we are confident that a court would issue sanctions against BANG if they attempted to sue."

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24 comments
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FedUpWithOcuupy
FedUpWithOcuupy

A message to Occupy Oakland from myself and my neighbors (who, unlike most of you, actually LIVE in Oakland): Go the hell home. Tear up your own communities. We're fed up with your destructive and childish behavior.

Shuan71
Shuan71

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ExJAG
ExJAG

Violating someone else's trademark and copyright is not free speech.  It's called theft.  These punky chaos merchants can't seem even to keep themselves personally clean and tidy.  We certainly can't expect them to grasp legal concepts, particularly those involving property ownership. 

What drips.

EssEffOh
EssEffOh

Dude, you're calling people names because they supposedly can't "grasp legal concepts," but you haven't a clue what you're talking about.  At all.

Using the name "Occupy Oakland Tribune" for satire or political expression would absolutely pass muster within the practice of "fair use." None other than the US Supreme Court has said so. Spend five minutes educating your self on fair use and you'll being eating your frickin' words.  What a drip.

Anthony Moore
Anthony Moore

OOT is simply a THIEF.It's not an affront on freedom. You can't just STEAL someone's name and logo all willy-nilly. That makes you a yellow-bellied THIEF. If they won't comply with the C&D, then sue their asses and wipe their face with the resulting defecate matter.

EssEffOh
EssEffOh

You're wrong. You don't know what you're talking about.

ColinFlaherty
ColinFlaherty

Nothing ironic about it: They are protecting their property, i.e. their name. So you would be OK if I started a paper called Occupy SF Chronicle?

EssEffOh
EssEffOh

I think you meant "Occupy SF Weekly." Regardless it would be 100% in you rights to produce a paper called Occupy SF Chronicle or SF Weekly or Occupy Anything. You people ever heard of "fair use?" Apparently not.

Nzmrmn
Nzmrmn

I think it would be great if you started a paper called the Occupy SF Chronicle! SF lost something when the Fangs bought the Ex and it stopped being a 2 newspaper town.

Kevin Cunningham
Kevin Cunningham

Filing for a trademark infringement lawsuit is NOT limiting freedom of speech.  Just like opening a story in a 'news' outlet with a statement of opinion is not ethical journalism.

EssEffOh
EssEffOh

Actually, Kevin, you're wrong.  The Oakland Tribune's attempt to scare people from using their Supreme-Court-affirmed right to practice fair use could certainly be viewes a threat to freedom of speech. The producers of the Occupy Oakland Tribune are not infringing on anyone's trademark. Any reasonable person would know the papers are entirely different things.

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

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VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends. 

KellyHWilliams
KellyHWilliams

"It's worth noting that the newspaper industry is hardly the 1 percent, but we digress."

most clueless thing i've read so far this week.

E. L.
E. L.

The MediaNews Group owns BANG, among a zillion other newspapers and even some TV affiliates. Hedge fund Alden Global Capital owns a large stake in MNG; their priority is obviously not news, but profitability. And the SF Weekly and its owner, Village Voice Media, are no strangers to 1% tactics. The former having been recently found guilty of antitrust practices, the latter having been recently found guilty (by the public at least) of running the venerable Village Voice into the ground.

Neon Trotsky
Neon Trotsky

"It's worth noting that the newspaper industry is hardly the 1 percent, but we digress."Oh really? Who owns the companies that own these newspapers?

dto510
dto510

Why don't you interview someone who actually knows something about trademark law if you are going to write an article? Of course trademark law applies no matter how the OOT is distributed.

John C. Osborn
John C. Osborn

Not necessarily. As with copyright laws, there are exceptions for fair use and parody, and if the Occupied Oakland Tribune can prove any of these, they are protected.

Also, it's quite difficult to prove damages for "marketplace confusion," particularly since OOT isn't sold or distributed at news stands. 

cheese and crackers
cheese and crackers

Personal opinion: Trib could care less about circulation problems. It may not be the 1% but what going media concern these days is not in the pocket of the 1%?  It is a not about circulation, it is a political ploy.

ExJAG
ExJAG

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Someone's following me! 

CryoAnon
CryoAnon

Trademark my ass, the Tribune is acting like a little kid who had his candy taken away.

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