Pork Board Threatens Blogger; Blogger Milks It For All Its Worth

Feb 2nd, 2007 | By | Category: Citizen Media

The Other White MilkBreastfeeding blogger Jennifer Laycock is getting hassled by the The National Pork Board, but she appears to be making the most of the situation.

Laycock promotes breastfeeding with her blog, The Lactivist. She has created a variety of funny t-shirts that promote breastfeeding, with phrases like “That’s my baby’s lunch you’re staring at.” The shirts help pay for the site and raise money for non-profit milk banks.

Her latest design, a shirt that read “The other white milk,” right, resulted in a letter from the legal counsel for The National Pork Board, threatening that they were prepared to sue if Laycock didn’t remove the image of the shirt from her sites, destroy any shirts that exist with the logo and not use the phrase in a commercially profitable way.

Unfortunately, Laycock’s situation is all too common with bloggers, podcasters and citizen media of all sorts. Corporations can often threaten indie bloggers and get the results that they want, because most indie bloggers can’t afford to deal with a lawsuit.

Laycock, though, is milking the situation for all its worth. She’s posted her thoughts on the issue at her site, along with links to sites that cover her situation. She’s been dugg, and has received an outpouring of coverage. In the process, she’s demonstrating the power of independent media.

Corporations have to balance protecting their intellectual property with the potential negative publicity that enforcement can generate; in this case, the Pork Board probably would have been better off to let Laycock’s parody t-shirt slide.

Maybe Pork Board members don’t understand the importance of breastfeeding. There is a direct association between the length that a baby is breastfed and its intelligence.

Note: Shirt image taken from Google cache – it has been removed from Laycock’s Cafe Press site.

No Responses to “Pork Board Threatens Blogger; Blogger Milks It For All Its Worth”

  1. Mike says:

    I’m no lawyer, but I believe part of the issue is this: If the pork board doesn’t defend its trademark in this (stupid) situation, they’ll have a hard time defending it later in court, perhaps when a more serious violation occurs. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

    So it sounds ridiculous – VERY ridiculous – to do this, but perhaps they kind of…have to.

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