Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A note on on negative social and economic preferencing

I admit it. Back in the day (the day when I hiked and even did a bit of climbing, that is), I owned a couple of North Face™ shirts. I doubt they're still around. If they are, I'll find them and sock them away for a public burning if it comes to that. I sure as hell won't ever wear them in public again, or buy another North Face™ product. And I'll probably go out of my way to have a little discussion with any friend I notice wearing North Face™ rags.

In other words, I am (and have just announced that I am) negatively socially and economically preferencing* North Face™.

Here's why.

Parody is clearly protected speech/commerce under US trademark laws. Even absent such laws, parody clearly does not constitute aggression, theft, etc.

South Butt™ is clearly parody. High school level parody, sure -- it was in fact founded by a high schooler (he's in college now) -- but unmistakably parody.

Instead of taking the parody in good humor, or better yet taking up South Butt™ on its offer to sell, North Face™ decided to throw its weight around with churlish "cease and desist" demands and then a lawsuit.

North Face™ may "win" -- in America's "justice" system, being right and a pocketful of quarters will get you a cup of coffee from the vending machine in the hallway outside the courtroom -- but they're wrong. They know they're wrong, I know they're wrong, and now you know they're wrong. They're humorless bullies. So screw'em.

Even if they "win," North Face™ has already lost. They've lost any and all future potential sales of their products to me and to anyone whom I have the opportunity/occasion to influence on the matter, yea unto the seventh generation, etc. (by which I mean, point your friends/readers at this post, please).

Negative social and economic preferencing does not strictly require an equal and opposite reaction (i.e. a matching positive social/economic preference), but in this particular instance I think one is justified. South Butt™ offers fun, attractive products at a reasonable price, and presumably buying from them will aid them in fending off the efforts of North Face™ to shut them down. I can always use a new t-shirt, and I expect I'll get my next one from South Butt™. Consider yourself invited to go now and do likewise.

Note: For more on social preferencing and other solutions (actually, a framework into which social preferencing and other solutions fit) to the problems of human interaction, see the writings of Paul Wakfer and Kitty Antonik Wakfer at Self-Sovereign Individual Project.

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