MemeFirst has responded to Puma’s
cease and desist letter. Trademark lawyer Martin Schwimmer was kind enough
to draft a response both for us and for AdRants, and you can download
a PDF file of it here.
If you don’t want to plough through three dense pages of legalese, however,
here’s the basic gist of our response.
- We didn’t create those
images. (To be fair, Puma never accused us of creating the images, but
it’s worth getting the ground rules straight.)
- The images, whether real or fake, constitute an item of public interest.
As such, we have a First Amendment right to comment and report on them.
- We are not a commercial website, and we do not accept advertising. This
means that (a) we didn’t profit from the use of the images; and that (b) no
one could have considered the images as being genuine Puma advertising.
- Far from generating the impression that the images were genuine, we actually
sought out Puma, got a statement from them saying the images were fake, printed
that statement, and generally were prime source of the information that this
was a hoax. In fact, to this day, Puma has nowhere on its website disavowed
This whole episode with Puma has been fun. I’ve enjoyed getting unprecedented
numbers of visitors both to this website and to MemeFirst, and I’ve never received
a cease-and-desist letter before. But this, I think, is an obvious point at
which to bring the matter to a close. We’re about to go to war, there are much
more important things on everybody’s mind, and we have an absolutely watertight
Peter Mastrostefano, Puma’s lawyer, never returned the phone message I left
for him the day I received his c&d, so I really have no idea what his take
is. But I’ll be very surprised if he chooses to pursue this any further.