To which our immediate and final answer should be: Bullshit. Trademark comes to us from civil statutes relating to unfair competition and consumer confusion. Trademark exists to protect us, the public, from those who would fraudulently confuse their products with ones we're familiar with: in other words, when we crack open a can of Coke, we have the right to be sure that what's in the tin is the real deal, the pure Black Waters of American Imperialism, and not Crazy Joe's Discount Soda Beverage. Recent years have given us a dilution standard as well: if a mark is sufficiently famous, it can't be used even in generally non-confusing contexts, such as Pepsi Running Shoes or Evian Brake Fluid.
Which begs the question: Where's the confusion in Air Canada's case? What reasonable person, confronted with the petition at MiltonGottaGo.com, would assume that this was somehow a service offered by Air Canada, or would come to some harm through momentary disorientation? Indeed, Air Canada's position appears to be that the use of its marks identifies the petition's target too clearly. Under this theory, someone who contracted food-poisoning at Jack in the Box would be enjoined from uttering the company's logo in her accounts of the incident: "I got sick at a restaurant that uses a round-faced clown in a pointy hat as its logo."
Trademarks are powerful because they visually and clearly identify the companies who own them and their products. When a trademark is used to control the ability of a critic to clearly identify the target of her criticism, trademark is being perverted and is being used to undermine democratic discourse. Intellectual property laws are dangerous, ripe with potential to silence speech and stifle expression, the very things they are created to uphold. When trademark holders get greedy and grabby, we need to speak out, we need to protest -- the important word in "intellectual property" isn't property, it's intellectual. Link Discuss (via Blogaritaville)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.