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Coming soon: felony to satirize TSA?



Overcriminalization alert: a Republican House member has introduced HR 3011, which would make it a felony to

without written permission, use the words, acronyms, or symbols of those agencies on apparel or in a publication "in a matter that is reasonably calculated to convey the impression that the wearer of the item of apparel is acting pursuant to the legal authority of" the agencies or "to convey the impression" that the written materials "is approved, endorsed, or authorized by" the agencies.

While courts have previously held that satire does not violate trademarks, there is certainly a risk of a chilling effect if a future Justice Department decides not to have a sense of humor, since there is no explicit exception in the statute for parodies.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.