Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Slants win First Amendment suit (band video)

In Major Free Speech Victory, SCOTUS Rules for 'The Slants' and Strikes Down Federal Trademark Restriction - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

June 19, 2017 - "Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in favor of the Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, holding that the First Amendment protects the rights of the band's members to register a trademark in their band's 'offensive' name.

"At issue in Matal v. Tam was a federal law prohibiting the registration of any trademark that may 'disparage...or bring...into contemp[t] or disrepute' any 'persons, living or dead.' The Patent and Trademark Office cited this provision in 2011 when it refused to register a trademark in the name of The Slants, thereby denying the band the same protections that federal law extends to countless other musical acts. Justice Samuel Alito led the Court in striking down the censorious rule. 'We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment,' Alito wrote. 'It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend'....

"Slants bassist Simon Tam told's Meredith Bragg, 'For me, this whole fight has not been just about the band name and our right to access the trademark registration.... When I found out what the government was doing and how they were doing it, how they were using it to suppress speech and how they were trying to take rights away from my own community, I decided that was not right. So all of a sudden it became about principle. When I believe they are violating the values of our country and violating my own values, I decided that had to be stopped, no matter the cost.'"

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