San Diego Based KONY 2012 Campaign Creators Threaten Lawsuit For Infringing on Trademarks
San Diego – The creators of the now infamous KONY 2012 YouTube video seen around the world more than 90 million times has recently threatened the owners of Kickstriker.com with a lawsuit for infringing on multiple of its trademarks.
The KONY 2012 phenomenon as seen on Facebook, YouTube, and posters throughout the United States tugged at the heart strings of people everywhere as the creators of the video aimed to capture Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. It has been estimated that Joseph Kony and the LRA are responsible for abducting more than 30,000 children and forcing them to murder other innocent people. The movement is also referred to as the ‘Invisible Children’ and supporters are able to make donations towards the cause on its website to capture Kony.
Kickstriker.com, a new website, has recently posted a video parodying KONY 2012. The website is run by three graduate students Josh Begley, Mehan Jayasuriya and James Borda who are currently enrolled in New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. On the website, visitors are able to donate money to the KONY 2012 campaign to “hire mercenaries to hunt down Kony”. The students use dark humor as a satire on military issues around the world even promising that if a donation of over $5,000 is made the person donating will receive one of Kony’s teeth to commemorate their role in ending his reign of terror.” The website does disclaim however that “Kickstriker is a hoax.”
The Invisible Children campaign creators did not find Kickstriker’s humor amusing, whatsoever. In fact, a cease and desist letter was sent to the creators of Kickstriker demanding that the use of the trademarks ‘KONY 2012’ and ‘Invisible Children’ be removed and stated “this impermissible use is a blatant and egregious infringement of Invisible Children’s valuable copyright and trademark rights.”
The makers of Kickstriker are enforcing their right to freedom of speech and say that they are not infringing on the trademarks. A statement from the company was made saying, “The purpose of our website, Kickstriker.com (henceforth ‘Kickstriker’), is to critique a number of institutions, including Invisible Children, through the use of political satire,” and “as such, while Kickstriker makes use of the trademarked terms ‘Invisible Children’ and ‘KONY 2012,’ these uses are protected under the doctrine of fair use, which allows for such uses for the purposes of criticism and commentary.”
This is not the first time that San Diego based Invisible Children has been surrounded by controversy. Recently the director of the KONY 2012 video and co-creator of the campaign Jason Russell was video-taped standing naked in the streets of San Diego cussing and shouting to nearby street traffic. Russell was detained and treated for dehydration.
Hopefully, the original message of the campaign will prevail, Joseph Kony will be captured, and there will be invisible children no more.
Posted in: Trademark Infringement