How many Americans had no idea of the existence of a government organization called the National Security Agency before the last few weeks? An honest show of hands probably would reveal that most Los Angeles residents were unaware of the government’s highly-classified, communications protection agency.
The media made the NSA and its super-secret PRISM data-gathering program the subject of nationwide debate about the public’s right to privacy. Agency officials contend they are just doing their jobs to protect the nation’s communications by mining dangerous data from foreign-based emails, videos, files and chats.
The shockwave began when media sources reported that the government’s surveillance program was solidly in place among the country’s largest service providers including Google, Facebook and Skype. News reports hint that an Orwellian “Big Brother” may be keeping constant tabs on anyone and everyone.
What has NSA got to do with intellectual property laws? At least one entrepreneur has been stung by trying to capitalize on the trendy topic. By his own account, a businessman who opted to place the government’s PRISM logo on T-shirts and other products and sell them is already in trouble.
The man’s Zazzle.com merchandise was pulled offline when the sales platform received notification the businessman’s products contained “conflicting content.” The letter to the seller stated an unidentified intellectual property holder complained about possible copyright infringement.
The businessman made about seven dollars before his Zazzle sales ended. The entrepreneur suspects the NSA was behind the complaint. The de-Zazzled businessman has written to the Internet company for confirmation. At the time of his report, the man had yet to receive a reply.
Perhaps because it is funded by taxpayers, the government’s intellectual property is normally not copyright protected. A law does forbid personal possession and profit making from federal insignias.
Entrepreneurs anxious to cash in on current events can seek advice from attorneys for intellectual property rights and wrongs.
Source: gawker.com, “The NSA Sent a Takedown Notice Over My Custom PRISM-Logo T-Shirts” Max Read, Jun. 08, 2013