Update: Fox gets skinned

Federal judge Denny Chin in Manhattan rebuffed Fox News’s request for an injunction to prevent the Penguin Group from releasing humorist Al Franken’s new book with a title mocking the network’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan (see Aug. 12). “There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case,” said Judge Chin. “This case is wholly without merit both factually and legally.” “During arguments held before his ruling, Chin asked Fox lawyer Dorie Hansworth if she really believed that the [book’s] cover was confusing. ‘To me, it’s quite ambiguous as to what the message is,’ she said. ‘It’s a deadly serious cover … This is much too subtle to be considered a parody.” The book’s cover is dominated by its title, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right”. (Gail Appleson, “Fox Loses Bid to Stop Sale of Franken Book”, Reuters/Yahoo, Aug. 22). Ernest Svenson (Ernie the Attorney) chides Fox not only for the weakness of its substantive trademark position but also for using its complaint as a vehicle for personal attacks on Franken: “the courts aren’t there for litigants who want retribution.” (“A lawyer’s take on Al Franken’s First Round Legal Victory”, Blogcritics, Aug. 22). Eugene Volokh also comments.

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