The state of Louisiana is suing left-wing activist group MoveOn.org for violating trademark laws because the group used graphics from the state’s tourism ads in a billboard campaign attacking Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
Jay Dardenne, the state’s lieutenant governor, has been calling for MoveOn.org to remove the billboard campaign for weeks, without success.
“We have invested millions of dollars in identifying the ‘Louisiana: Pick Your Passion’ brand with all that is good about Louisiana. No group should be allowed to use the brand for its own purposes, especially if it is for partisan political posturing,” says a statement issued by the Lt. Governor.
Louisiana officials say they aren’t trying to silence MoveOn.org’s political free speech, but they insist that the left-wing group cannot just take the graphics created for a trademarked tourism campaign and use it without permission.
Dardenne further notes that the ad campaign is not under Gov. Jindal’s control. The state owns the trademark, he asserts, and “its use is under the direction of my office, not the Office of the Governor.”
In response, MoveOn has criticized the state for spending taxpayer money on a “frivolous lawsuit,” instead of “providing health care to the people of Louisiana.”
The organization apparently feels that laws protecting trademark and copyrights are theirs for the breaking.
But Lt. Gov. Dardenne disputes that any state money is being spent to protect the state’s legal trademark rights because Baton Rouge attorney Dale Baringer has agreed to take the case pro bono.
MoveOn, however, insists that the billboard is protected political free speech.
The left-wingers also are soon to launch a TV ad criticizing the state’s reaction to the billboard campaign.
“Why are Louisiana Republicans trying to take down this billboard?” the TV ad begins. “Maybe they don’t want you to know that when Gov. Jindal refused to expand Medicaid, he said no to more than $1.65 billion in federal funds and denied health care to 242,000 people.”
The MoveOn ad campaign is meant to protect Senator Mary Landrieu who is running for re-election in a tough campaign. One of her biggest rough spots is her vote for the President’s disastrous Obamacare policy.
MoveOn is attempting to force Landrieu to stick with her support for Obamacare and not run away from the President’s national healthcare takeover like many other Democrats are doing.
But it may be too late. Landrieu already seems to be distancing herself from Obamacare. In February, Jim Geraghty noticed that the Senator did not mention her support of Obamacare anywhere on her re-election campaign website.