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2/1/2007: Chicago Auto Show Tries to Silence Protest
Cease and Desist Letter Sent in Response to www.AutoShowShutdown.org
February 1, 2007
For Immediate Release
The Arctic ice cap is melting, and the polar bears are angry. They’re coming to Chicago to help save their habitat. And now the auto show’s lawyers are angry, too.
A new website, AutoShowShutdown.org, launched earlier this week as a parody of the Chicago Auto Show website to raise awareness about global warming, automobile fatalities, and other negative effects of private automobiles, and to promote sustainable transportation, has irked the auto industry. A letter sent from a lawyer representing the Chicago Auto Show threatens: “[T]he Chicago Automobile Trade Association and the Chicago Auto Show demand that you immediately cease and desist use of its marks in every way whatsoever. Should you fail to immediately take necessary corrective action, [we] will seek damages against you for trademark infringement.”
The polar bears are ready for a fight. “I’m not scared of lawyers,” said Snowball, a 1,000-pound polar bear. “There are many prior legal rulings that say industry can’t use trademark infringement threats to squelch free speech and silence their critics. And besides, we polar bears are the only species that actually hunts humans, so those lawyers better be careful.”
“It’s time to save Snowball and all polar bears,” said Dan Korn, an Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival ringleader. “Chicago cyclists are proud to join up with our furry friends from the north to help save their homeland by riding bikes more and driving less. We demand that the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and the Chicago Auto Show immediately CEASE AND DESIST their egregious display of automobile glorification.”
“The Auto Show can't stop thousands of citizens from attending the SHUTDOWN Festival, so they're moved their attacks online to try to shut down free speech,” said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) representing the Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival. “That just won't fly under the flag of the First Amendment.”
WHAT: Eighth Annual Chicago Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival
Auto Show SHUTDOWN festivities will include:
The Auto Show Shutdown Association is a group of individuals working to run the Auto Show out of town, and have a good time doing it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — working to protect your digital rights.
Snowball is a very large bear.
For more information, visit AutoShowShutdown.org or call Dan Korn at 312-505-9307.