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In our sue-happy country we like to think that we have rights over everything, including ideas (read the chapter on plagiarism in Days of War, Nights of Love if you want to know more about my views on that).  Sure, we should be protected from people trying to blatantly steal or take credit for our work, but where do we draw the line when it comes to derivative art?  It’s usually flattering and can bring more attention to the original.

The makers of Bambu rolling papers are suing a New York artist for his rendition of Barack Obama on a t-shirt that looks a lot like Bambu’s iconic rolling paper ads.

Bambu original ad:


Seamus McGovern’s Obama shirt:

Seamus McGovern - Love Fatigues

Check out this link for more details on the suit.  I get that they don’t want someone else making money on an image that could be argued is very close to their own, but they’re suing because the shirts might “subject Bambu to criticism and scorn insofar as Defendants are depicting President-elect Barack Obama smoking marijuana, and such depiction is likely to confuse the consuming public into believing that the offensive advertising emanated from Bambu.”

What?!  It’s a funny shirt, people! And seriously, I don’t care what public figures did in their past or what they do in their personal lives.  Smoking a little pot is the least of our problems. Let’s talk about the horrible, messed up stuff that some of them do while in office and with our tax dollars.

On a side note, President-Elect Barack Obama is pretty freaking cool.  Never before have I seen so many people make/wear shirts with the face of a candidate or president on them!  I have a very cool Brooklyn Royalty one!

August 2020

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