Guess we'd better make other plans for this week, lest we run afoul of one pro-bicycle group that aims to shut down the Chicago auto show. The group, AutoShowShutdown.org recently launched a web parody of the Chicago show's site, on which they provided counterpoint to the show site's content. The group even rebuffed a cease-and-desist letter from the show's organizers, with the support of online free-speech advocates the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Their plan is to protest the show's "egregious display of automobile glorification" this coming Saturday, the first of the show's public days at Chicago's McCormick Place. Kind of reminds us of ourselves when we were wee lads protesting arrogant roadway bikers. Of course the only slogan we could come up with at the time was "We won't pedal, death to false metal!" Right, we didn't quit our day jobs.
For Immediate Release
The Arctic ice cap is melting, and the polar bears are angry. They're coming to Chicago to help save their habitat. And now the auto show's lawyers are angry, too.
A new website, AutoShowShutdown.org, launched earlier this week as a parody of the Chicago Auto Show website to raise awareness about global warming, automobile fatalities, and other negative effects of private automobiles, and to promote sustainable transportation, has irked the auto industry. A letter sent from a lawyer representing the Chicago Auto Show threatens: "[T]he Chicago Automobile Trade Association and the Chicago Auto Show demand that you immediately cease and desist use of its marks in every way whatsoever. Should you fail to immediately take necessary corrective action, [we] will seek damages against you for trademark infringement."
The polar bears are ready for a fight. "I'm not scared of lawyers," said Snowball, a 1,000-pound polar bear. "There are many prior legal rulings that say industry can't use trademark infringement threats to squelch free speech and silence their critics. And besides, we polar bears are the only species that actually hunts humans, so those lawyers better be careful."
"It's time to save Snowball and all polar bears," said Dan Korn, an Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival ringleader. "Chicago cyclists are proud to join up with our furry friends from the north to help save their homeland by riding bikes more and driving less. We demand that the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and the Chicago Auto Show immediately CEASE AND DESIST their egregious display of automobile glorification."
"The Auto Show can't stop thousands of citizens from attending the SHUTDOWN Festival, so they're moved their attacks online to try to shut down free speech," said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) representing the Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival. "That just won't fly under the flag of the First Amendment."
WHAT: Eighth Annual Chicago Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival
WHEN: Saturday, February 10, 2007, 11:00 am
WHERE: Meet at Daley Plaza at 11 am, ride to the McCormick Place Cermak Road Entrance at 12 noon.
WHO: Snowball and dozens of his furry friends, along with hundreds of cyclists, and special guests.
HOW: Street theatre, bicycles, and other fun activities.
WHY: To peacefully SHUT DOWN the Auto Show, to save the polar bears, and to save the humans too!
Auto Show SHUTDOWN festivities will include:
* Polar Bear Bicycle Parade, Stunt Riding Demonstration, Muffler and Snow Tire Juggling.
* SUV/Canoe Trade-In Area. Prepare for the flood before it's too late!
* Unveiling and test rides of the cheap, fun, and non-polluting Vehicles of Tomorrow.
* Snowball the Bear, Uncle Sam, Superman, Santa, the Rev. H. Antiford, and other guests!
The Auto Show Shutdown Association is a group of individuals working to run the Auto Show out of town, and have a good time doing it.
Environmental Screed Unintentionally Endorses Petroleum [internal]