Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got Bullying?

"got milk?" was recently voted the #1 most influential tagline since 1948. Apparently, the California Milk Processor Board also has #1 Most Uptight Legal Department.

Barbara Holmes, who lives up in Talkeetna, AK, is the daughter of a regular Palousitics reader. Two years ago, Ms. Holmes, an artist, hand lettered ten articles of baby clothing with the words "got breastmilk?" and sold six of them at a crafts fair. She hasn't made any since.

Earlier this month, Holmes got a cease and desist letter from attorneys representing the California Milk Processor Board. The letter stated that Holmes was guilty of "trademark infringement" because "breastmilk" contains the word "milk" and consumers might get confused. She was to surrender all the T-shirts, onesies and equipment used to make them, as well as provide an accounting of any profits, or face a lawsuit.


As Holmes stated in a Anchorage Daily News interview:
They say I'm going to confuse milk consumers. How can you get confused between a boob and a bottle of milk from the store? They're two different kind of jugs.
*LOL* Well put.

Obviously Holmes' work was a parody of the famous tagline, one that has been made many times by other people and groups, including PETA. Parodys are considered a "fair use" of copyrighted or trademarked material.

One would think that with the price of a gallon of milk at an all-time high that the California Milk Processor Board might find better ways to spend its PR capital than going after a mom in Alaska.

Ms. Holmes' attorney has a blog here. Some other blog coverage can be found here and here.

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