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Radio host Michael Savage nastygrams SavageStupidity.com



[Thomas has been a Politech subscriber (and frequent contributor!) since 
1996, if I recall properly. Sorry for the delay in getting this out. --Declan]

---

From: "Thomas Leavitt" <thomas@thomasleavitt.org>
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
Cc: <PLEVY@citizen.org>, <admin@MichaelSavageSucks.com>,
    "David Riski" <DRiski@klmfirm.com>
Subject: Fw: www.savagestupidity.com
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 17:19:15 -0700

Declan,

  You know, I never thought Savage's lawyers would be stupid enough to
actually nastygram me. Especially with a domain name dispute. I'm posting
these documents to the SavageStupidity.com web site in the next hour or so,
and will be sending out a press release far and wide in the next twenty-four
hours with a detailed response. I'll also be posting this to the
chillingeffects.org site immediately.

  I've also registered "klmfirmsucks.com", and will be putting up a web site
ASAP that will detail this whole dispute, as well as encourage any
businesses
or organizations that currently do business with them to change lawyers. :)

Any other folks whohave had similar issues with these nastygramers are
welcome to post to that site as well.

  First of all, "savage" is a dictionary word, completely generic, as is
"stupidity". The two, in combination, are a commentary on the savagely
stupid nature of most of Michael Savage's supporters (as in "Lacking polish
or manners; rude.", to cite entry #5 - well documented on the "HateMail"
section), and indesputably constitute political and satirical free speech.

  See dictionary.com's definition of "savage", at
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=savage

  Their contention that "[t]he only difference between Complainant's MICHAEL
SAVAGE mark and the disputed domain name is the replacement of the word
'Michael' with 'stupidity'" is ludicrous on the face of it - are they going
to claim trademark rights on every combination of the world savage with
other dictionary words?!? Apparently so, as they contend that the
conjunction of "stupidity" with "savage" is not enough to avoid "confusion"
on the part of non-English speakers.

  The fact is, "savage" and "stupidity" are two completely generic,
dictionary words, the combination of the two does not in any way infringe on
any trademark held by the whiny weiner dude, and I do have a very
established right and legitimate interest in the domain name, as I've been
maintaining the site since April 29th, 2002 and have invested hundreds of
hours of time and energy into creating content for it, much of it of a
generic nature.

  Further, Savage's lawyers said nothing about this for almost a full year
(the domain name was registered in April 29th, 2002), even though the site
generated significant media coverage in his home radio market and was easily
findable in Google for almost that entire time, and general trademark law
says that failure to act to defend a trademark within a reasonable time
frame means you lose the right to it. If Savage wants to contend I'm
trespassing on his trademark and have been since the site was put up, which
as I said above, I dispute unconditionally, I am perfectly willing to
contend that it should be invalidated on that basis.

  Their contention that the mere fact that my site shows up prominently in
search engines when Michael Savage is searched for, and that the fact that
even users who are understand that there is no association might visit it,
causes damage, is also utterly ludicrous. By that logic, any site engaging
in criticism of a trademark holder that is easily findable by individuals
searching for information about the trademark holder should be shut down. I
should optomize my site so that it does not show up in search engines when
people look for information about Michael Savage? Give me a break! If this
were upheld on that basis, free speech on the Internet would be dead.

  The they claim that I'm not engaging in "fair use" or "non-commercial use"
of the name, because

a) I'm calling for a boycott of his advertisers - a very well established
political tactic that falls well within free speech bounds

b) I solicit donations to support the site's operation (donations which have
never come even close to covering the basic operational costs), and "sell"
merchandise. Well:

i. the links to the CafePress store are not working, and have not worked for
months
ii. I have never sold a single item of merchandise, nor have I sold a single
book via Amazon - and even if I had, since no trademark infringement has
occured, and the entire basis of their complaint is invalid, it is none of
their damn business - CafePress has very strict anti-trademark violation
provisions, and we were very careful to follow them.

Here is what google returns when my site comes up as a result of searching
for "savage nation":

SavageStupidity.com - Where Michael Savage and "The Savage Nation ...
... critiquing, debunking, and otherwise combating and countering the
influence of radical
right wing talk show host Michael Savage and his Savage Nation followers ...
Description: From a husband and wife team opposing the viewpoints of
conservative radio talk show host Michael...
Category: Society > Activism > Media
www.savagestupidity.com/ - 2k - Cached - Similar pages

How his lawyers can complain that this is "confusingly similar" or would
lead any reasonable individual to believe that SavageStupidity.com is
sponsored by Michael Savage is beyond me.

The first two entries are:

MichaelSavage.Com
... Bonaparte Benedict Arnett hired by Commie-Greek TV SABOTAGE "Only A More
Savage Nation
Can Survive." --- Michael Savage To Read More From 'The Savage Nation'. ...
www.michaelsavage.com/ - 86k - Cached - Similar pages

Amazon.com: Books: The Savage Nation: Saving America from the ...
The Savage Nation: Saving America from the Liberal Assault
on Our Borders, Language and Culture, Michael Savage. ...
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/ detail/-/0785263535?vi=glance - 68k -
Cached - Similar pages

aside from demonstrating that Michael Savage is utterly incompetent when it
comes to promoting his own web site (there is no entry from "Open Directory"
for it, and the text that shows up in Google doesn't clearly explain what
the site is about), it seems pretty clear that a reasonable person would be
able to distinguish the two.

  As I'm broke and unemployed, and it is my understanding that defending a
domain name takes hundreds to thousands of dollars, I'd appreciate any
support Politech folk can give me.

  I've never gone through this process, so advice on exactly what I need to
do next would be much appreciated.

Regards,
Thomas Leavitt


-- 
Thomas Leavitt, Sr. Systems Admin For Hire
Resume at http://www.thomasleavitt.org/personal/resume/
Phone: 408-591-3342 / Email: thomas@thomasleavitt.org / Fax: 815-371-2804

Wired since 1981. Internet-enabled since 1990. Web-enabled since 1993.
Older, wiser, and poorer, post-crash. :)

Join the System/Database/Network Administrators Job Search Community:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sdnadminjobs/


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Riski" <DRiski@klmfirm.com>
To: <info@arb-forum.com>
Cc: <thomasleavitt@myrealbox.com>; <postmaster@savagestupidty.com>;
<info@savagestupidity.com>
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 3:45 PM
Subject: www.savagestupidity.com




David J. Riski
KANE, LADUZINSKY & MENDOZA, LTD.
225 W. Washington, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel:     (312) 726-0424
Fax:    (312) 726-2425
Email:  driski@klmfirm.com <mailto:driski@klmfirm.com>
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