City of Tamarac Orders Legal Cease and Desist Letter to this Website

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Writing about crime, politics and local events becomes mundane after awhile, so we occasionally livens things up with a little humor including poking fun of the city that we cover here on Tamarac Talk.

Well, we must have touched some nerves after making fun of the mayor because the law firm for the City of Tamarac,  Goren Cherof Doody & Ezrol P.A., sent our publication a cease and desist letter telling us that our unauthorized usage of the city’s logo was trademark infringement for the article  “It’s Good to Be the King when you are the Mayor of Tamarac.”

You heard that right.  Your taxpayer dollars were used go after this website. And your mayor and commissioners signed off on this.

Image from the article.

The article, which compares the mayor to a king, said that he’s far too special to answer his email from the “lowly plebeians in his fiefdom”.  Also, how city staff has to round up “seat warmers” to fill the chambers for his State of the City addresses, luring them under the guise of receiving a proclamation.

It clearly isn’t our most important work, but humorous articles break up the crime and other news on this site. 

We contend the use of the city logo with the Burger King mascot photoshopped in front of it is clearly a parody which is protected free speech and that using taxpayers dollars to have the city’s attorney’s fight sophomoric cases like this is an insult to to all of our residents.

What’s so frightening, is that it seems that the city and the law firm of  Goren Cherof Doody & Ezrol P.A. were unaware of the right of free speech enshrined in both United States and Florida Constitutions and the doctrine of fair use.   The fair use doctrine allows the use of copyrighted materials for purposes such as criticism or comment, which is not a copyright infringement. See 17 U.S.C. § 107(1982).   As 17 USC § 107 makes patently obvious, the purpose of this section is to prevent a copyright from being used as a device of censorship, which is exactly what the City of Tamarac is trying to do.  A copyright used to inhibit the free flow of information conflicts with the Constitution’s protections of free speech when used in this manner.  Without the fair use exception to copyright, free speech would be at best, inhibited and in some cases, eliminated altogether. Debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open, and may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasant attacks. Moreover, as we stated, our use of the city logo in this article is a parody.

This isn’t the first time that the City has picked on Tamarac Talk in its attempt to stifle public commentary either.  Using taxpayers’ dollars to fight bona-fide, protected free speech like public commentary is a mismanagement of priorities and money. Clearly, the City should spend its funds on more important issues; like security and public works.

Last April Fool’s Day, we wrote an article for our other website Coral Springs Talk that the City of Coral Springs was annexing the City of Parkland and photoshopped Coral Springs commissioners in front of the City of Parkland sign.

The article seemed serious, but then when readers went further, it had a silly quote from then-Parkland Mayor Michael Udine. Hundreds of people fell for it.  One home buyer in Parkland threatened to cancel her closing that day.  Residents were calling both city mayors and commissioners asking if it were true.   

Mayors Skip Campbell and Michael Udine were such great sports too. The point we’re trying to make is that the City of Tamarac doesn’t understand parody and they certainly don’t appreciate anyone making fun of them.

We have hired an attorney who will be responding to the City of Tamarac’s Law firm Goren Cherof Doody & Ezrol P.A. 

Letter below:

 

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • George Everitt

    Clearly, they don’t know the difference between satire and advertisement. The First Amendment is not just for the federal government. If you’re in public office, you will be satirized. Get used to it, or don’t run. It’s part of the job.

  • Kid Ordinn

    The logo of the City of Tamarac is in the public domain on Wikipedia here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_of_Tamarac,_Florida.png and it mentions that “This work was created by a government unit (including state, county, and municipal government agencies) of the U.S. state of Florida. It is a public record that was not created by an agency which state law has allowed to claim copyright and is therefore in the public domain in the United States.”

    I think that the City and their lawyers are wrong.

  • Typical corrupted governments.
    Makes me want to go back to 1963 and prevent the city from being allowed to incorporate.

    Heck we could eliminate 20 of the cities in Broward and go back to the original city list from 1908 to 1933

  • Kristen

    What a colossal waste of our tax money!! Keep on, keeping us informed Sharon! I enjoy your informative articles and your parodies; may free speech forever be protected and coveted!

  • mrbill321

    Dear Ms. Klahr: You should go back to law school. GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.

  • BobSchecter

    Even if a logo is trademarked, “informational (or “editorial”) uses of a trademark do not require permission. These are uses that inform, educate, or express opinions protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution—freedom of speech and of the press.”

    The city is engaging in a bullying tactic, likely because the poor baby’s [mayor’s] feelings were hurt. But on those grounds, they should be ashamed of themselves for spending my tax money on so petty a vendetta.

    I’m guessing the attorneys know full well they can’t win even if so frivolous a case somehow made it to court. To paraphrase: the only thing that can stop an incompetent attorney with a suit, is a competent attorney with a Bar Association complaint.

  • shonuffharlem

    Stay strong and fight the fascists!