US Chamber of Commerce suing the Yes Men

Discuss

32 Responses to “US Chamber of Commerce suing the Yes Men”

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a big difference between me making a site called boinkboink and writing up a blog making fun of some boingboing related matter, and setting up a site called boing-boing.net, with no mention of humor, an exact copy of the site along with content that would cause users to stop visiting boingboing or investors to pull their money. One is satire, the other is a dirty buisness trick.
    Yes men are in no way funloving activists, they are egocentric charlatans who want PR and will do anything to get it, thinking freedom of speech will save them from anything.
    They could have done this “nicely”, playing by the rules, for example by not claiming to actually be the Chamber of commerce, but just writing the news story (like the onion would have), instead they threw away moral and ethics to get results.

    • SamSam says:

      Anonymous member of the CoC, that’s a ridiculous comparison.

      Are you actually saying that what the Yes Men were doing was like copying Boing Boing word-for-word and trying to make money off of it?

      You don’t realize that it was satire? You don’t think they knew that people would realize (quickly) that they weren’t the real CoC, and that that was part of the point?

      If one of the Yes Men stood at a podium with the Seal of the POTUS and claimed to be Barack Obama, stating that he was going to declare war on France, do you think it would more more like copying Boing Boing word-for-word, or more like, say, satire?

      Why would it be any different?

      You say there was “no mention of humor.” Not all humor needs to be accompanied by cymbals at the end of the joke. Sometimes intelligent people still understand the humor.

      Tell me, you actually worried that the Yes Men managed to convince so many people that they were the real CoC that investors will “pull out money” from the CoC and invest in them??? That doesn’t even make sense.

    • SamSam says:

      Anonymous member of the CoC: that’s a ridiculous comparison.

      Are you actually saying that what the Yes Men were doing was like copying Boing Boing word-for-word and trying to make money off of it?

      You don’t realize that it was satire? You don’t think they knew that people would realize (quickly) that they weren’t the real CoC, and that that was part of the point?

      If one of the Yes Men stood at a podium with the Seal of the POTUS and claimed to be Barack Obama, stating that he was going to declare war on France, do you think it would more more like copying Boing Boing word-for-word, or more like, say, satire?

      Why would it be any different?

      You say there was “no mention of humor.” Not all humor needs to be accompanied by cymbals at the end of the joke. Sometimes intelligent people still understand the humor.

      Tell me, you actually worried that the Yes Men managed to convince so many people that they were the real CoC that investors will “pull out money” from the CoC and invest in them??? That doesn’t even make sense.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I thought this would be a good place to put up an interview I did with Mike Bonanno for my website.
    http://justinbelmondo.typepad.com/night_of_the_dead_living/2009/10/notdl-interviews-yes-mens-mike-bonanno.html
    He was great to interview and we had a lot of fun.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Meh.
    You pull that kind of stunt, you’re going to risk being sued.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your blurb could be read to say that those companies backed put of the CoC because they fell for the yes men prank, making them look like the draconian ones instead of the progressives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Politicians and celebrities have been copied all the time. Think of all the Elvises out there. If a corporation is a person, what’s the difference? These guys are performance artists. They do things that make people think. This is awesome to me because through their art we learn truth. Who is the bigger offender here. Is it the clowns who could be easily discredited with a simple phone call to the bona fide company or is it the media who just takes things at first glance and prints it as fact without checking sources? This type of theatre dates back hundreds of years. It’s called BOUFFON.

  6. Pyros says:

    “Instead, they deliberately broke the law in order to further commercial interest in their books, movies, and other merchandise.”

    I think the guy has a point. Most of the people in the industry of dissent are trying to make cold hard cash just like everybody else. It’s the American way.

  7. Scatter says:

    Ahh thankfully the video footage of the press conference has appeared and can be found here:

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/us-chamber-of-commerce-punks-the-yes-men

    Genius!

  8. scottbeibin says:

    If you’d like to bring The Yes Men (Mike Bonanno + Andy Bichlbaum) to speak at your school, company, wedding, or Bar Mitzvah please contact the Evil Twin Booking Agency

    http://www.eviltwinbooking.org

  9. mgfarrelly says:

    Oh I hope this goes so badly for the CoC (heh). And by all precedent, it will.

    Rather than let the joke be the joke and roll on, they’re going to try to sue a gaggle of performance artists over parody and political speech, two of the most protected forms of free expression. Even hard-line “originalists” like Scalia and Thomas have sided with protecting political speech, which this is a clear example of.

    The beauty of the “Yes Men’s” game is the CoC now has to actively explain their climate change denial, as it is just that very position that differentiates them from the parody. By explaining how different they are they only look more foolish. And in court no less.

    Is there a legal defense fund yet? Better still, can I buy tickets to the proceedings? Further, can I bring popcorn?

  10. SamSam says:

    Wait, satire is illegal if the intent is to make money? SOMEONE SUE JON STEWART!!!

    Also, I like that one of the accusations in the suit is for “unfair competition.” Because it’s soooo unfair that someone would pretend to be the “good” Chamber of Commerce. Come on! How’s the poor Evil Chamber of Commerce going to turn a dime if someone sets up a fake Good Chamber of Commerce???

  11. jfrancis says:

    “The defendants are not merry pranksters tweaking the establishment”

    - how do you prove someone is not merry? See if you can secretly catch them saying ‘bah, humbug’ on tape?

  12. LeFunk says:

    ok, but can’t they be
    merry pranksters tweaking the establishment while deliberately breaking the law and furthering commercial interest in their books, movies, and other merchandise.

    Always so black and white, sheesh..

  13. Brainspore says:

    “Instead, they deliberately broke the law in order to further commercial interest in their books, movies, and other merchandise.”

    Hot damn, those guys should join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce!

  14. nixiebunny says:

    This charge could be difficult to prove. For instance, were the Yes Men promoting their film while giving the fake press conference? No! They were giving a fake press conference!

    I’ll ask them what’s up when they come to town in a couple weeks to promote their new film, which they *won’t* be doing by holding a fake press conference about a different subject.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So whats the US Chamber of Commerce’s stance on climate change? I’m curious now

  16. Matt Eric says:

    I’m just wondering what the US Chamber of commerce’s cause of action is. Publicly libeling them by pretending they’re *not* gigantic douchebags who wouldn’t mind destroying the world if it meant a few more precious, precious dollars in their wallets?

  17. oldtaku says:

    Sue away, chumps! Streisand Effect ahoy.

  18. insert says:

    The CoC seems to be saying that, since the group would gain publicity and thus sales, no group that sells anything may engage in parody. This seems to be an end run around First Amendment protection of parody. As the courts have routinely ruled (e.g. Food Lion v. Capital City/ABC), a long shot action under some other tort cannot reach speech explicitly protected from a “frontal” action. I expect the courts to smack down the CoC, as they should.

  19. DaveP says:

    heyyyy, way to make yourselves seem like even bigger douchecanoes, chamber of commerce

  20. blahrgh says:

    Of course, it’s all a ploy by the Yes Men to sell merchandise.

  21. Anonymous says:

    What specific law(s) are they purported to have broken? AFAIK, “identity theft” protects individuals, not corporations.

  22. Scatter says:

    This needs to be spread far and wide….

  23. elricky says:

    Don’t fall for it! Surely the real Chamber of Commerce would never risk making themselves look like fools by doing such a thing.
    This is nothing but the Yes Men impersonating the Chamber of Commerce suing the Yes Men for impersonating the Chamber of Commerce.

  24. Thorzdad says:

    Ah…so free-market capitalists resort to nuisance lawsuits when it serves their purposes?

  25. webmonkees says:

    The Yes men are one of my fave bits of organized chaos. We exchanged emails about my idea of EPA Superfund historical markers. Maybe ‘Hidden chambers of commerce’ would be a more suitable title for the series.

  26. Air Biscuits and Gravy says:

    The Chamber of Commerce is no longer relevant therefore they have to make their money through legal avenues.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The Chamber has filed a civil complaint in the US District Court of Washington, DC, accusing Yes Men Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos (also known as Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, respectively) of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.

  28. dsery says:

    maybe someone should sue the CoC for inflating their membership numbers …

  29. Anonymous says:

    Draconian? are you for real? Just because bureaucrats make less doesn’t mean they don’t have a reason to cook the books to justify their employment.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/13/cru_missing/

  30. benher says:

    @elricky Thanks, my head just exploded.

Leave a Reply