FC: Part 1/2: "Black Blocs for Dummies" website gets lawyer nastygram

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 05 2001 - 20:48:56 PST

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    Chuck0 is a colorful member of the DC anarchist community:
    Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 22:40:01 -0500
    From: Chuck Munson <chuckat_private>
    Subject: Infoshop.org contacted over trademark infringement
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     >From the "Legal Departments with Too Much Time on Their Hands"
    November 5, 2001
    Black Blocs for Dummies
    Infoshop.org Served Cease and Desist E-mail Over Trademark Infringment
    I've just received an interesting e-mail from the legal department of
    Hungry Minds, Inc., publishers of the "For Dummies" series of how to
    books. They seem to have taken umbrage over a page that exists on
    Infoshop.org titled "Black Blocs for Dummies." The page in question
    provides information on the "black bloc" tactic that has been used by
    anarchists and anti-authoritarians at numerous protests in recent years.
    This is the second cease and desist communication that Infoshop.org has
    gotten in its nearly 7 years of existence.
    As a website committed to the destruction of the idea of "intellectual
    property," Infoshop.org will be exploring its options in coming weeks.
    See the page in question:
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 15:13:57 -0500
    From: Heather DeOrto <HDeOrtoat_private>
    To: "'chuck0at_private'" <chuck0at_private>
    Cc: Heather DeOrto <HDeOrtoat_private>,
          Trademark Infringements <TInfringementsat_private>
    Subject: Trademark Infringement  BLACK BLOCS FOR DUMMIES
    November 5, 2001
    Mr. Chuck Munson
    Mid-Atlantic Infoshop
    PO Box 179
    College Park , MD 20741-0179
    Re:     Trademark Infringement  BLACK BLOCS FOR DUMMIES
    Dear Mr. Munson:
    I am the Trademark Administrator of Hungry Minds, Inc.
    As you may know, Hungry Minds, Inc., formerly IDG Books Worldwide Inc.,
    over 100 trademark registrations and applications in the United States,
    Canada and other jurisdictions for the trademark "FOR DUMMIES," many
    "DUMMIES" formatives and the FOR DUMMIES trade dress.  These rights
    cover a
    wide variety of goods and services, topics and subject matters. As such,
    Hungry Minds, and its authorized representatives, have the exclusive
    under law to use these marks to distinguish its goods and services from
    third parties.
    Protection of that right requires that Hungry Minds take all reasonable
    steps to prevent others from using its marks (or confusingly similar
    without authorization.  United States trademark law prohibits anyone
    than Hungry Minds from using its marks, or any marks that are
    similar, in connection with goods or services when such use is likely to
    cause confusion as to the source, sponsorship or affiliation of the
    goods or
    services. In addition, the law prohibits the use of a famous mark in
    such a
    way as to "dilute" its distinctiveness as an exclusive designator of the
    owner's goods and services.   When such dilution occurs, the mark can
    a "generic" term used in connections with goods or services from many
    different sources, and the owner may therefore lose its exclusive right
    use it.
    Hungry Minds recently became aware of your website  "Black Blocs for
    Dummies" at http://www.infoshop.org/blackbloc.html which utilizes the
    Dummies" phrase which is confusingly similar to the well-known "...For
    DummiesŪ" trademarks owned by Hungry Minds, Inc.
    The title of your article at the above-referenced site could easily be
    confused and associated with Hungry Mind's "...For DummiesŪ" trademark
    erodes the distinctiveness and the goodwill associated with it.
    Accordingly, the continued use of "Black Blocs For Dummies" on the
    constitutes infringement and dilution of Hungry Mind's trademark rights
    under the federal Lanham Act and other federal and state laws that
    infringement, dilution, and unfair competition.  Based on that, at this
    juncture, I ask only that you remove the trademarked material from the
    of your article on or before November 19, 2001 and reply indicating your
    agreement to refrain from using all such trademarked material in the
    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
                                     Heather DeOrto
                                     Trademark Administrator
                                     Hungry Minds, Inc.
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