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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oakland Tribune Afraid of Losing Even More Subscribers to Occupy Oakland Tribune

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 7:45 AM

click to enlarge Making news is one way to increase your readership
  • Making news is one way to increase your readership

In a fun twist of irony, the Oakland Tribune newspaper is attempting to quash the freedom of speech of another local news outlet, with a cease and desist order sent earlier this week.

According to writers at the newly established activist paper, the Occupy Oakland Tribune, the other Tribune is demanding the smaller news outlet disable its content and stop using the word "Tribune" in its name, saying it "tarnishes and diminishes the value" of the city's flagship paper.

The Occupy Oakland Tribune started in November, a few days before the Occupy Oakland movement held a general strike where thousands of protesters filled the streets and shut down banks and the Port of Oakland. With only a few hundred daily readers, the online and print newspaper covers the Occupy Movement and pens commentary on activism, cultural issues, and the mainstream media. To date, it's printed two editions.

But the Trib's obvious threat by the amateur new outlet should perhaps be viewed as nothing more than a sad commentary on the declining state of print media. Is the Trib really that worried about losing more subscribers?

The Occupy Trib isn't concerned about it. Taking a lesson from the Occupy Movement itself, Occupy Oakland Tribune writers happily told BANG executives where they could shove their daily news.

"There is no way we are going to be intimidated by the Bay Area News Group," said Scott Johnson, who founded the Occupy Oakland Tribune. "This is just another effort by the 1percent to push around the 99 percent."

It's worth noting that the newspaper industry reporters are hardly part of the 1 percent, but we digress.

Johnson pointed out that there is no way for consumer confusion between the two media outlets, which have completely different formats, graphics, font, and layout. Moreover, the banner of the Occupy Trib clearly distinguishes itself as "Occupied," referencing Occupy Oakland and the 99 percent. "Oakland readers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between these two extremely different publications," the paper states.

Additionally, the Occupy Tribune isn't sold, but rather handed out for free at protests organized by Occupy Oakland. Thus, trademark law does not apply, Johnson said.

"We are not afraid of a lawsuit," Johnson said. "And we are confident that a court would issue sanctions against BANG if they attempted to sue."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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