Friday, October 30, 2009
Chamber of Commerce Sues Yes Men
CBS NEWS BLOG
October 28, 2009 11:14 AM
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suing the Yes Men, activist group that fooled several media outlets into reporting that the chamber had changed its position on climate change legislation. Meanwhile, pressure continues to mount against the business lobbying group for its opposition to the legislation.
The chamber filed a civil complaint this week against the Yes Men to protect its trademark and other intellectual property from unlawful use.
The activists, aiming to bring attention to the chamber's opposition to the climate bill, last week managed to dupe the media with a fake press release with the chamber's logo announcing the business group had it changed its position on the legislation and was also supporting the adoption of a carbon tax. The Yes Men also managed to lure reporters to a press conference at the National Press club where, standing at a podium adorned with the chamber's logo, a member of the activist group pretended to be a representative of the chamber.
"The defendants are not merry pranksters tweaking the establishment," said Steven Law, general counsel for the chamber, according to the Associated Press. "Instead, they deliberately broke the law in order to further commercial interest in their books, movies and other merchandise."
The Yes Men's Andy Bichlbaum told MarketWatch that the stunt was designed to call attention to the Chamber's opposition to the climate bill. He said he welcomed legal action from the business group for using its logo because "it would bring even more attention to the issue."
The chamber's opposition to climate change legislation has compelled some utility companies, as well as other businesses like Apple, to leave the group. The environmental organization Greenpeace is now asking other technology companies, including Google, Microsoft and IBM, to follow Apple's lead.
"The [information technology] industry stands to profit significantly by selling energy efficient tech solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, yet has been dramatically outspent and mostly silent in support of strong climate policies in the United States or internationally," Greenpeace said in a statement. "Instead, IT companies continue to fund the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's regressive and destructive stance on climate issues, even when unaligned with their own climate policies."
As hearings begin on Capitol Hill over the Senate's climate change legislation, the focus is currently largely on the measure's economic impact, the Washington Post reports.