T-shirt maker and consumer advocacy group face down NSA

Dan McCall, operator of the website Liberty Maniacs, uses the National Security Agency seal on T-shirts and mugs that say “Spying on you since 1952” and “The only part of government that actually listens.” He also sells merchandise with a “Department of Homeland Stupidity” logo. The N.S.A. took umbrage at these parodies and informed the online retailer Zazzle.com — which Mr. McCall used to manufacture his products—that it wasn’t legal to use its seal and name. Homeland Security sent a cease-and-desist letter. http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/thin-skinned-spies/?_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=tw-share&_r=0

Mr. McCall contacted the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which sued on his behalf. Yesterday the agencies abandoned their protests. The N.S.A. acknowledged that the law “does not prohibit the creation or sale of items intended to parody N.S.A.” and that the “designs were intended as parody.”

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