Joseph Sandler defended MoveOn.org in a court appearance before a US District Judge in Baton Rouge, Lousiana yesterday. At issue was a billboard that MoveOn.org critical of Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s rejection of Medicaid expansion. MoveOn.org parodied the state’s tourism slogan “Pick Your Passion” in the billboard, which then said “But hope you don’t love your health. Gov Jindal’s denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”
In response, Louisiana sued MoveOn.org claiming trademark infringement. However, Mr. Sandler defended MoveOn.org, claiming that the billboard was clearly a parody, which is protected speech. He told the (Baton Rouge) Advocate that the billboard “an appropriate and constitutional use of parody. The idea of the billboard is here the state promotes itself as a great place to live and visit yet we … want to make a point that it’s not such a good place to live and visit because of health care policy decisions of the governor. … This is a noncommercial use of the mark.”
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