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Group Refutes Prop 8 Backers Logo Challenge

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Updated: 9:23 am - A U.S. district judge has ruled against ProtectMarriage's motion for a temporary restraining order against The Courage Campaign. The group is using an online logo that parodies that of ProtectMarriage. The group attempted yesterday to get the logo removed from Courage Campaign's Prop. 8 trial tracker website.

Judge Lawrence K. Karlton wrote in his ruling: "[P]laintiff is unlikely to overcome the conclusion that defendant's use of the mark is protected under the First Amendment, in that the use is relevant to an expressive parody and the use is not explicitly misleading. In this case, the logo itself is artistic. Moreover, the broader website, while perhaps not artistic, is undeniably expressive of a political idea, and both political and artistic expression are protected by the First Amendment."

From Jan 20, 2010: The Courage Campaign is refusing to remove an online logo that parodies that of ProtectMarriage, which has issued a motion for a temporary restraining order for the Courage Campaign to cease and desist from using the logo because it may confuse the casual Web user.

Nathan Sabri, legal counsel for the Courage Campaign, told ProtectMarriage that the "difference between our client's logo and your client's logo is a graphical representation of the core difference between Courage Campaign's views and ProtectMarriage's views, presented in a sassy way that will not be lost on the public."

As reported last week, the Courage Campaign's offshoot site to monitor the Proposition 8 trial, Prop8TrialTracker.com, bears a similar logo to that of the nuclear heterosexual family that ProtectMarriage.com uses on its website. However, a letter from John Skeriotis, an attorney representing ProtectMarriage, claims that the parodied logo is an issue of copyright infringement and "a counterfeit mark of ProtectMarriage." He added that the switch from a mother and father in his group's logo to the logo with two mothers is an alteration that "is not readily viewed by the casual observer."

Skeriotis demanded that the Courage Campaign remove all images of the logo from all "websites, print advertising, etc." and also issue proof of "destruction and removal" thereof by January 14.

In a countering letter from Sabri sent January 15, he said, "While our client does appreciate the irony of the suggestion in your letter that a logo of a family made up of a man, a woman, and two children is 'substantially indistinguishable' from a logo of a family made up of two women and two children, your assertion is incorrect."

Courage Campaign chairman Rick Jacobs added in a statement on Wednesday that while his organization continues "to focus our energy on this historic trial and the rights and protections at stake for loving, committed same-sex couples, ProtectMarriage.com can continue to expend time, energy and resources on a logo. Frankly, I think that says a lot about our respective priorities."

Prop8TrialTracker.com Logo:

ProtectMarriage Logo:


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