Daily News header

Free Speech Activist Defeats Union Square Partnership Censors Church


In a victory for free speech and political parody, Savitri Durkee, Director of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, has successfully defended her right to publish a website satirizing the Union Square Partnership (USP) and their efforts to turn the historic Union Square pavilion into an upscale restaurant.

Durkee has settled the lawsuit brought against her by USP so that she may continue to publish the website as part of her campaign to preserve the pavilion as public space for public use.

USP, the oldest Business Improvement District (BID) in New York City, has baffled New Yorkers with their initiative to install a restaurant in an area with the highest density of restaurants and the lowest density of park space in the entire city. The USP is led by Jennifer Falk, former press secretary to Mike Bloomberg, who when she was first asked about the opposition to the restaurant said, "Given my previous position at City Hall, I wouldn't have felt at home without a controversy."

Durkee stated the settlement "sends a strong message to quasi-governmental agencies like the USP that stifling legitimate dissent with frivolous lawsuits will cost them money and damage their reputation." Looking ahead, Durkee believes "settling this lawsuit means we can get back to work convincing the USP, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Parks Commisioner Adrian Benepe and Mayor Mike Bloomberg to abandon their plans for an upscale restaurant in the pavilion since no one except the USP's secretive donors and executive board want it there anyway."

In July 2008, USP sent Durkee's Internet service provider a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice improperly asserting that her parody site infringed USP's copyright, leading to the shutdown of the site. USP also filed a copyright lawsuit against Durkee and later filed a claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seeking to take control of the parody site's domain name. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a well known civil liberties defense group working in this case with the law firms of Mayer Brown and Gross & Belsky, LLP, filed a response to USP's complaint on Durkee's behalf, pointing out that Durkee's parody is protected under the First Amendment and fair use doctrine.

Durkee feels "extremely grateful" for the legal team "pushing back against this bully of a BID who seem to have the same expansive sense of proprietary dominion over the World Wide Web as they do over our precious park."

This month, EFF and the rest of Durkee's legal team reached a settlement so Durkee may continue publishing the site with the addition of minor disclaimer statements. Durkee will pay no damages to USP.

Durkee's website is now online again at http://www.weareunionsquare.org and will be updated throughout the pavilion preservation campaign.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Top Stories News

The WHO has confirmed that two people traveled from Guiena by public transportation to Kayes, a city in western Mali on the Senegal River.
Every week we hear updates on the number of infected and dead caused by Ebola but individual numbers aren't the whole story. The WHO projects millions of cases in Africa by next year!
A new Ebola case in the U.S. is reportedly linked to a Doctors Without Border medic who self-reported very early symptoms and was immediately placed in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
A second storm will roll in Friday night into Saturday. The storm this weekend could bring locally strong wind gusts on the coast.
Hard Money Lenders make all kinds of loans, particularly high on the list are property loans, commercial business loans , loans to investors seeking to purchase and flip houses and businesses, with sufficient equity.
New issue of The Hollywood Sentinel features a tribute to Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Lauren Bacall, coverage of the Moira Cue Art Show at Bruce Lurie Gallery, Andy Warhol's Shadows show at MOCA, How to Succeed in Hollywood

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site