Freedom to Laugh it Off?

Does the Constitutional Court's ruling in favour of Laugh it Off strike a blow for freedom of speech or does it erode a company's intellectual property rights?
Evidently the court took into account the small profits made by the Laugh it Off T-shirt company versus the huge turn-over of SAB when deciding their ruling, but surely the amounts don't matter? The fact that Laugh It Off makes any money at all riding on the intellectual property of another company is surely theft, plain and simple? On the other hand, if LIO made no money whatsoever surely only then could they be seen as true campaigners for freedom of speech?

Justin Nurse, in building his own brand and publishing business, is playing the same game as the brands that he is attacking, so is this simply a matter of small versus big, rather than a struggle toward any lofty ideals?
I don't think the Laugh It Off campaign was to attack companies such as SAB. I got the impression they were making use of well-known phrases by well-known brands and creating awareness about more pressing issues (I stand corrected). I don't see why SAB had to kick up such a fuss about intellectual property because the shirts didn't imply that SAB is guilty of any wrong-doing. It was a fun way of expressing an issue.
Posted on 30 May 2005 14:48
You might be next-
Erosion of a company's intellectual property rights. Plain & simple. Who is next?
Posted on 30 May 2005 16:11
I could be wrong...-
But I get the feeling that, LIO, made more brand awareness for SAB... Think about, most people who saw the T-Shirts, are SAB consumers... cause they appreciate the humour behind the Brand... So what if LIO, is making a bit of a profit. I actually found it rude for SAB to attack them in the first place. But then again, we cant just have people infringing on Corp Trade Marks, it would just get out of control. But if SAB had instead of attacking, but joining those ideas together... there would have been more than just brand awareness... perhaps making history, or recognising that no matter what, we all are born from our fathers sins... That's just my feelings though... Ugly(D) Proudly Zamalek
Posted on 30 May 2005 16:20
FNB laughed it off-
When LIO parodied FNB's logo with a dagga leaf and the line Finest Natural Bankie (or something), FNB had the good sense to buy up a whole lot of the T-shirts for their staff. They could have gone "ooooh, people will think we deal drugs on the side if we don't sue the T-shirt company" but they didn't, and as far as I am aware no one closed their FNB account because of LIO. So full marks to them for having more of a sense of humour than SAB!
Posted on 30 May 2005 16:47
devil's advocate did Virgin, but not Viagra...- is obviously not important for a company that sells alcohol and pleasure to take itself too lightly. Everybody knows the t-shirts did no damage to either their billions of profits or the Carling brand - more damaging perhaps in miniscule sectors was the lack of goodwill demonstrated by SAB, but probably not enough for them to lose sleep over. If you have a brand worth protecting, you need to stay ahead of the game, really strong and authentic brands cannot be imitated. Nike on the other hand deserve what they get for using child labour, ironically it's that same people that have the most to lose from cheap Asian knockoffs, that are the one's buying them!
Posted on 30 May 2005 17:30
SAB can laugh it off!-
3 Cheers For The Constitutional Court & Justin Nurse! I just wanted to express what a reassuringly warm and fuzzy feeling i have in my heart at the recent Constitutional Court ruling in favour of Laugh It Off after such an arduous battle with SAB. I find it laughable that such a song and dance has been made over these brillant t-shirts! The mere fact that someone has successfully parodied your brand shows what a powerful brand it is, otherwise it wouldn't have been recognised in the first place. I personally think that SAB's reaction to the shirts and the extent to which they drew the issue out has hurt the brand more in the long run than any humble shirt could ever begin to achieve! So long to the brand image of friendship, sharing,and equality and hello to a bitter aftertaste in south african mouths. They have nobody to blame but themselves. Big ups to Justin Nurse and his crew, and our boys at the Constitutional Court! You've done us proud :)
Posted on 30 May 2005 20:33
lorna guinness
go justin!
Posted on 31 May 2005 06:20
SAB Employee-
You must be a SAB employee right?
Posted on 31 May 2005 08:18
Hear Hear - amazing where a little humour and common sense can take you-
And a little humour and common sense would have been a much cheaper way of SAB doing something positive for their image rather than cementing the monopolizing bully angle.
Posted on 31 May 2005 08:55
Carling can make an ad-
I posted this comment on the item about the new Carling ad, but interestingly I can't see it there ... (conspiracy). Anyway, Carling should make an ad about this group of hardworking ordinary young guys with an innovative business idea - humourous t-shirts - they are are then bullied by a multinational but they rise to the challenge and win the day. (you can still get the obligatory muscle shots by showing them doing some screen printing!!)
Posted on 31 May 2005 09:02
Black Labour
White Guilt-
Bull... When I first saw the shirt I had a good laugh and started drinking "Zamalek" (Black Label). The message "Black Labour, White Guilt" basically commented on the use of hard working mine workers to sell the brand in the 80's (I think...). It was a comment on SAB in the 80's NOT today - loads of companies were dodgy and unethical in the 80's and I thought it was fair comment! So after the whole mess of the trial, will I drink SAB - no... Wake up SAB you damaged your own brand...
Posted on 31 May 2005 09:24
Wonderful News !-
It's about time the big corporates were told where to get off ! U the man DM !
Posted on 31 May 2005 10:21
bye, bye SAB-
I must be honest, I've never been a fan of Laugh it Off. I thought their t-shirts were trite and immature and about as far removed from politcal commentary as Jozie from Mars. But geez, the way SAB handled things was shocking. (Can anyone say 'Telkom'?)I can't say I'll be supporting their products from here on out.
Posted on 31 May 2005 13:36
Bully tactics-
SAB was definitely ill-advised by its legal team. There were other channels they could have used to settle the matter amicably instead of flexing muscles on small-time guys like Justine and company. SAB forget that it is such small-time people that spend a fortune imbibing SAB's not so luscious products. They have only succeeded in intimidating their customers. Shame!
Posted on 1 Jun 2005 12:28
Re: Carling can make an ad-
Brilliant idea! Look at the whole Nando's & Manto 'thighs' saga..
Posted on 1 Jul 2005 15:22
Posted on 19 Jul 2007 19:53


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