So this is interesting. I recently created a product on Zazzle called “NSA-proof communication device.” It’s a dry erase board. (Get it? Get it?) It looked like this:
It was up for a couple of days before I received an email from Zazzle’s Content Review Team reading,
Unfortunately, it appears that your product, NSA-proof communication device, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines. We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.
Product Title: NSA-proof communication device Product Type: aif_dryeraseboard Product ID: 256940178052035216 Result: Not Approved Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to infringement claims.
Translation: The NSA told Zazzle that some part of “NSA-proof communication device” is their copyright, and Zazzle interpreted my dry-erase board as infringing on that copyright. I can only assume it’s the NSA’s name that is allegedly copyrighted. Obviously, this product’s invocation of the NSA name falls under fair use, since it’s parody.
Zazzle is treading into dangerous territory if they think they should take down every single instance the letters ‘NSA’ appear in products on their site. Really makes it look like Zazzle is an enemy of free speech. Or at best, too darn lazy to protect free speech in the face of an email from a big corporation or government agency.
I’ve been fighting with their customer service for a day and a half now, and the most recent action they asked me to take (which I obediently complied with since I’m a peon) is to state, with my e-signature, that I agree to get sued by the person who filed the takedown request. Bring it on.