Cafepress.com on many of its news pages is promoting a pro-communist store that, among hammers and red stars, also sells "Hillary Guevara" design based on the famed Che™ picture by the Cuban photographer Korda. One can buy Hillary Guevara shirts, pins, mugs, bags, baby and doggie items, and yes, boxer shorts commanding you to "vote Hillary '08." More on that later.
In our previous story we described how Cafepress.com censored our "Che is Dead" design with a hairy skull in a beret on a vague pretext of copyright infringement - while they turned a blind eye on other shopkeepers who blatantly used corporate logos and trademarks in designs that denigrated American corporations and capitalism in general.
I decided to stage an experiment to see if Cafepress would like the taste of their own medicine. I set up a section in my store named Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob and put together a couple of designs mocking Cafepress while using their own logo.
The designs were banned on arrival, before I even could put them on any products. Thus we proved that Cafepress will not tolerate dissing its own logo. Fair enough. Hypocritical yet explicable. Step 2 of the experiment included the same designs minus the trademarked logo.
The designs went through and I created a set of nice products with them including shirts, mugs, stickers, and thongs. Half an hour later, just as I was placing an ad for these products on my site's front page, the shop was purged without warning. Just like in the 1984 novel, my shirts became non-shirts, thongs became non-thongs, stickers became non-stickers, and the shop was clean and empty as if I hadn't just spent an hour building it.
Later that day I received the same form email from Cafepress as before. It listed a standard set of violations that, as we have already seen, Cafepress never bothers to enforce unless one makes fun of communism - or of Cafepress itself. Maybe I should've named that store "The Truth Hurts."
Since then I received this communication from Cafepress:
In a parallel development, at about the same time, a pro-communist shop named Parallel aXis (favored and invariably promoted by Cafepress) had launched a new line of products featuring Hillary Guevara gear based on exactly the same image. Gasp! No censorship here. Apparently the term "parallel axis" also describes what Cafepress uses as moral and legal guidance.
In other words, while the Cafepress's trigger-happy legal hand was purging my online store of beret-wearing skulls because it was "too similar to the original Korda photograph," its dollar-happy marketing hand was promoting a "Vote Hillary '08" design based on the same Korda's photograph (flipping the image horizontally is not really an alteration).
Please compare these images:
The only person who might complain about the similarities would be Nick Nolte - but I don't think he cared to copyright that particular photograph.
I felt it was time to sit down and write another letter to Cafepress.com.
Dear Content Usage Associate,
Please kindly explain what usage guidelines I violated to cause you censor my designs in the section of my online store named "Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob." I didn't do anything different from what many of your other users did to Burger King, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Fox News, President Bush, etc. I didn't even deface your logo, did I?
I really feel that your actions violate my right to free speech, and here's why.
Courts have upheld that privately owned shopping malls are "Public Commons" where people have free speech rights no matter what the policies of the owners of the shopping malls. Web-sites such as CafePress, it could be argued, by allowing in the public, are Public Commons and as such don't have the right to limit anyone's free speech which includes, but not limited to, setting up a section named "Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob."
While the very concept of "Public Commons" is a purely leftist idea used by the Left to survive by parasitizing on capitalism through injecting communist propagandistic larvae into the host bodies of wealth-creating capitalists (which I guess has unfortunately happened to Cafepress at some point), I consider it a fair game to invoke this concept while fighting the Leftist infection itself.
I created my anti-Cafepress designs after you purged my online store, removing products with a picture of a hairy skull in a trademark Che™ beret. You recently responded that my image was "too similar to the original Korda photograph." But can you REALLY use that excuse after you allowed images of Hillary as Che™ be posted on Cafepress by Parallel aXis, a pro-communist store that you favor and promote in your CafePress Wire? I don't think so. With the copyright issue out of the way, what remains is blatant political censorship. This is especially ironic considering that a few years ago you were selling merchandise for a communist North Korean site promoting Juche idea of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung.
What is being done here is restraint of trade (there's no trademark for Che Guevara's skull, nor for any other items in my online store) and a violation of my First Amendment rights to free speech. You must understand that this is a serious matter.
I'm considering calling my local ACLU office in New York. They have a record of successful lawsuits protecting First Amendment rights against corporate oppression. That's right, we're back to commiespeak again. You are a big bad corporation that owns means of production (capitalist exploiter), and I am a little guy who has nothing to lose except his chains (exploited proletarian), comprende camerado? That might be a very funny follow up to be posted all over the Internet, don't you think? As it is, dozens of bloggers have already picked up this story and are salivating for more developments.
Remember Cindy Sheehan who camped out in Crawford, TX demanding that Bush meet with her and explain a few things? Don't you love the tactics of the Left? In fact, Cindy let it slip once that she didn't really want Bush to meet with her as that might put an end to her successful show. Similarly, if Cafepress apologizes and removes the restriction on anti-Che™ satire that might put an end to this particular show, and I might not want that to happen before the fun is over.
And thank you for forwarding to me the address of Che™ layer in France. I don't think I need it because I don't have to ask their permission to satirize murdering communists. I am not using Che™ to sell more of my product as Smirnoff Vodka once did. I don't have to prove anything to Maitre Randy Yolaz et al. The burden of proof is on them, so please don't place the cart before the horse.
You might want to contact Maitre Randy Yolaz with your Hillary Guevara gear, though. And while you're at it you might also inquire if this image below that I am about to upload to Cafepress might be "too similar to the original Korda photograph." Would you please do that? That would be the only permission I would like to have from a French lawyer.
Please be kind to send me a personal response. The longer you delay, the more people will be reading the blogs and the websites that are following this development - and the more potential customers Cafepress will lose.
I know you must really dislike me for doing this. But isn't this what Leftist activists (in Che™ T-Shirts) are doing on a regular basis to American corporations, trying to disrupt and destroy good, well-running businesses that are the foundation of our wellbeing? You allow it to happen in your shops without invoking the copyright infringement issues, but you had to censor my caricature of a communist demagogue rabble-rouser?
Eat your own medicine.
Comrade Red Square
I probably wouldn't be doing this if I didn't know that Cafepress is banning every anti-Che design on the grounds that it somewhat resembles Che's famous photograph (please see a similar story described on Che-Mart.com. But that is exactly the image that is emblazoned on the shirts of legions of brainwashed wannabe "revolutionaries." How can one visually satirize this phenomenon without alluding to the image that's in the center of it? The image had become a cultural phenomenon before copyright was claimed for it in the year 2000. Someone should've told them that it was too late to cork the bottle after the genie had already escaped. And if no one told them before, we will.
Who are "they?" Here the part where the background comes in. You can read our informative compilation here, or just go with the skinny below:
The famous picture was shot by Alberto Diaz, a fashion photographer better known as Korda, at a funeral for victims of the explosion of a French freighter transporting weapons to Cuba one year after Fidel Castro's revolution triumphed with the help of Guevara. Korda's group photograph was not printed by his newspaper the next day. Seven years later, when Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli showed up looking for a cover picture for an edition of Che's "Bolivian Diary," Korda gave him two prints for free. Guevara was captured six months later in the Bolivian jungle, where his bid to start an armed peasant revolution ended in fiasco. On news on his death, Feltrinelli cropped the photo and published large posters that quickly sold 1 million copies. Thus the guerrilla fighter was transformed into a radical chic poster boy. Korda said he never received a penny from Feltrinelli.
But a year before his death in 2001, Korda won an out-of-court settlement of about $50,000 in a suit against Smirnoff for using Che's picture in vodka ad campaign - with the help of Western leftist lawyers, of course. Around that time Korda stated that he didn't want any money for using Che's photo to promote communism, but he objected to its use to denigrate Che's image and ideas.
There you have it - an absurd, immoral situation: not only Che™ cult is being protected by the very system he was rabidly trying to destroy, but it seems that only a pro-communist use of the image is now tolerated but an anti-communist use is verboten.
Since the Hillary Guevara use of Korda's photo obviously falls under the pro-communist category, Cafepress needn't worry.
Today Korda's daughter who lives in France owns the copyright for Che™ photo and dictates who can allude to Che™ via his image, collecting money for its commercial use. Che™ daughter who lives in Cuba is also sniffing around for some cash in lawsuits. Something tells me the two daughters would not be able to pull it off unless they had a backing of Cuba's propaganda machine. They expect us to pretend that this is nothing but a copyright issue, but it is really the issue of free speech and leftist censorship. Lawyers say it will be an uphill struggle to deter non-photographic use of such a widely reproduced image - like ours, for example. Good. Again, one can copyright a photo - but not the idea.
What needs to be done in this regard, I think, is a big publicized lawsuit in which reason has a chance to prevail. We must beat the Left at their game of information control, and create a legal precedent for the rest of us. Once we get the ball rolling it may eventually turn into a huge snowball as it picks up more issues and parties along the way. Ideally I would like to see communism itself put on trial, to kick the "moral" foundation from under its feet once and for all. I was hoping that would happen after the fall of the Soviet Union - a big trial over the Communist Party like they had one in Nuremberg over the Nazi criminals in 1945. It never happened.
Today we can still hear from the media, the academics, and Hollywood that communism isn't that bad - instead, it's the immoral power of American capitalism that threatens the world's freedom. George Clooney comes up with another anti-McCarthy movie that glorifies communist supporters. Che Guevara images are plastered all over American campuses. Communist symbols are presented as cool items in such promotions as can be found on Cafepress, for example. I'm sure that a fascist symbol will not last very long there. But what's the difference between the two? Both communism and fascism are socialist doctrines relying on big totalitarian government to stifle opposition and control the economy. Both generate a breed of militant fanatics willing to murder millions if necessary for the sake of some mythical brotherhood of the future. While both ideologies are oppressive and inhuman in their nature - rosy claims notwithstanding - the fascists didn't even come close to communists in the numbers of people they had robbed, butchered, and starved to death. Yet Cafepress seems to think it's cool to promote a "Communism Kids T-Shirt."
Quote:ahem...the link to the Che is Dead shirts is back up in cafepress...wtf?
Kommissar BettyWait, does this mean that we have to stop making fun of Cafe Press?Hell no - now we push CafePress to produce nazi shirts or else force them to explain why one totalitarian regime is more palatable then another. . .
Quote:Communist growth rates were certainly impressive...The rapid growth in output could be fully explained by rapid growth in inputs: expansion of employment, increases in education levels, and, above all, massive investment in physical capital.
Quote:Rapid Soviet economic growth was based entirely on one attribute: the willingness to save, to sacrifice current consumption for the sake of future production.
Quote:...it is hard for most people to realize that there was a time when the Soviet economy, far from being a byword for the failure of socialism, was one of the wonders of the world--that when Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the U.N. podium and declared, "We will bury you," it was an economic rather than a military boast.
Paul KrugmanTo set the record straight about Communism (again!),
Paul KrugmanTo set the record straight about Communism (again!),
Quote:Mr. Krugman, your brains are the dynamite of revolution. You sir, are a dangerous man.[/quote]
KamenevI'm sorry, but if brains were dynamite, Krugman wouldn't have enough to blow his own nose.
Quote:Rapid Soviet economic growth was based entirely on one attribute: the willingness to save, to sacrifice current consumption for the sake of future production.
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