A “Civil” Lawsuit

I was looking around on the internet getting ready to do some work when I found this article via a google+ page about an author named Patrick Wensnick that for his book Broken Piano for President, the cover is a parody of the labels of one of the most iconic American brands around: Jack Daniels. Apparently, as usual, their cover is a clear likeness of their label and they want it stopped. Now many would thing that this would devolved into a twisted debate about remixing or copyright (I know I have) their lawyers have sent him what could be the nicest cease-and-desist letter in a long time.

In the letter the representing lawyer details that she understands the cultural impact of the brand but they have an image to protect and humbly ask them to change their design at re-print. In fact, here’s the letter:

This is the actual letter that should be the great standard all letters should go by. (click image for the article again)

Long story short the decision hasn’t been made but they refused their offer to pay them for the redesign. It goes without saying that the company might have learned its lesson after last time

But reading the letter was impressive that they understand at least and giving them time to do it. This had the consequence of improving sales of their whiskey and his book because they believed that letter showed that old charm Jack would have done if he were alive… despite the source of the letter is from California. I once remember that the original purpose of a lawsuit was to discourage parties from certain actions and negotiate/settle prior to trial or to avoid going to court altogether, unlike today that’s going in the complete opposite. Today, lawsuits scare the offenders over meritless accounts and even just outright attack and send them to court with no recourse at all often ending in disaster. In a detour of the topic one commenter on the above article mentioned a man Charles Carrion who is suing the cartoonist of one of my favorite comic sites, The Oatmeal and issues this rule on how NOT to send a cease-and-desist letter that would invoke the wrath of the fans and anger those involved.

Whatever the outcome is for these two at least one side is showing civility in a time when as one Cracked author said “Money makes you nod your head at inappropriate times.”


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