They may track our every statement and hobble our every move,
but the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland
Security ought not be immune to parody, says Dan McCall. The
his suit to protect his, and our, right to laugh at Leviathan
from Sauk City Times:
A St. Cloud State University graduate and Sauk Rapids resident
is suing the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland
Security after they issued cease-and-desist letters against
merchandise he was producing through his web-based business.
Dan McCall, who runs LibertyManiacs.com from an office in his
home, filed the suit Tuesday in federal court in Baltimore. He says
the agencies violated his First Amendment rights, and is being
assisted in his suit by Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C.-based
government watchdog organization.
McCall sells T-shirts, mugs and posters, often with satirical
To ridicule electronic surveillance disclosures, he paired the
NSA’s official seal on T-shirts for sale with the slogan: “The only
part of the government that actually listens.”
He also has one with the sub-heading “Spying On You Since 1952,”
and altered the NSA seal to read “Peeping While You’re
Zazzle, which prints some of McCall’s designs on merchandise,
received the letters in 2011. Zazzle informed him of the letters in
June and the company said it would no longer carry his items with
the NSA seal because they infringed on the NSA’s intellectual
property rights. McCall is now selling those items on on CafePress,
an online business similar to Zazzle.
According to Public Citizen, the NSA and DHS threatened Zazzle
with litigation or criminal prosecution unless McCall’s designs
Public Citizen claims no reasonable person would believe
McCall’s graphics were produced by the NSA or DHS. The organization
also believes the First Amendment guarantees McCall’s right to use
the seals to identify the agencies he’s criticizing….
The lawsuit asks the court to declare provisions of the National
Security Agency Act can’t stop McCall from displaying his
merchandise and that two other laws are unconstitutional because
the violate the First Amendment….
McCall graduated from St. Cloud State in 2001 with a degree in
political science and emphasis on economics and philosophy. He
started selling items that combined art, politics and humor a
decade ago and turned it into a full-time job in 2010. As recent as
2011, Libertymaniacs.com was on pace to generate $1 million in
sales annually and had three other employees.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/01/nsa-and-dhs-tell-american-he-cant-sell-p