In the E-sales world I’m pretty much small potatoes. If you look at my sales numbers, I’m not even a French Fry, much less a Freedom Fry. Imagine my surprise to open my Email today and see the following:
We recently learned that your CafePress.com account contains material which may not be in compliance with our policies. Specifically, designing, manufacturing, marketing and/or selling products that may infringe the rights of a third party…
Oh dear, lawyerese.
Which one of my little designs could have offended? I don’t have any designs with pictures of The Prophet (PBUH), so that wasn’t it. In fact, I can’t really do anything fancy. I work totally with open source software and freeware, which means I can basically manipulate fonts, including fonts with special symbols, like hearts and the classic circle with a line through it. I can’t afford Photoshop or even the ten dollars to set up my own unique domain name to get Google mojo, so how did I fall afoul of some mysterious lawyer somewhere?
Clicking into my account, I found the design they were upset about was a two dollar political button for Barack Obama. I’m not going to upload the photo here, since I don’t want to publish something someone thinks is some sort of copyright infringement, but it had the letter “O” in navy blue with a sun, stars, and stripes in the center of it and the phrase “Obama ’08”. The official Obama campaign website shows their logo to be a light blue letter “o” with red stripes at the bottom of the “o” and the slogan “Obama ’08”. So what is copyrighted? The slogan “Obama ’08”? Red stripes? The letter “O”? The website doesn’t say anything is copyrighted. I don’t get it.
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say I have voted for Obama more than once. In fact, I still have old mailings from his days in the legislature. When I first set up a MySpace page, “Tom” was my first “friend” and Obama was my second.
So is this the end of the world for me? Political buttons aren’t really what this blog is about. It’s about the relationships between the West and the Middle East, and how to enjoy living in a world where everyone is not the same. It’s very much about people and tolerance, and not very much about politics. But politics makes the world go round, and if any movement comes about in our relationship with the Arab world, it will be reflected in our political culture as well, and perhaps even stimulated by our national 2008 presidential dialogue. So I am a bit of a political junkie.
In the past I have blogged about both Obama’s position on the Military Commissions Act and Senator Joe Biden’s plan for Iraq, and had hoped to blog more in the future about the positions of the candidates in respect to the Middle East, time permitting. But this whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth. For starters, I have taken my Obama button with the blue stars off my side bar and will disable the links to the remaining Obama campaign buttons. Then, I’m just going to have to think about it for awhile.