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EFF: Chamber of Commerce Takes Aim at Yes Men

Business Group Tries to Take Down Parody Site After Embarrassing Prank
PRESS RELEASE
October 22, 2009
Business Group Tries to Take Down Parody Site After Embarrassing Prank

San Francisco - Attorneys for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have issued a takedown notice in an attempt to silence a parody website that was posted in support of the Yes Men's embarrassing prank poking fun at the Chamber's stance on climate change legislation.

In a letter sent to the Chamber's attorneys today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) demands that the baseless claims be withdrawn immediately.

"We are very disappointed the Chamber of Commerce decided to respond to political criticism with legal threats," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "The site is obviously intended to highlight and parody the Chamber's controversial views, which have sparked political debate and led high-profile members to withdraw their support from the Chamber."

The effort to take down the website -- currently located at www.chamber-of-commerce.us -- comes on the heels of a Yes Men prank that made international news this week. The group put out a press release and held a spoof news conference on Monday, claiming that the Chamber of Commerce had reversed its position and would stop lobbying against a climate bill currently in the Senate. Several news outlets reported the story before determining it was a prank.

Yesterday afternoon, attorneys for the Chamber sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to the site's upstream provider, Hurricane Electric Internet Services, claiming that the site constituted copyright infringement and demanding that the site be shut down immediately and that the creator's service be canceled.

"Parody is a well-established right, protected under copyright law and the First Amendment," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Hopefully, the Chamber will reconsider its position and realize that such strong-arm tactics are inappropriate and counter-productive."

For the full text of the letter:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/ip_freespeech/yesmenletter.pdf

For the full text of the DMCA takedown notice:
http://www.eff.org/files/chamber-dmca-notice.pdf

For the parody site:
http://www.chamber-of-commerce.us

Contacts:

Corynne McSherry
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
corynne@eff.org

Matt Zimmerman
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
mattz@eff.org

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