Oh, the irony…

So much for the shirts.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Fox & Friends plagiarizing the student newspaper at Duquesne, a small Catholic university in Pittsburgh. Irked and confused, the students tried to contact Fox News – which, of course, ignored them.

I wanted to turn their frowns upside down, so I designed this T-shirt to sell via a fundraising company called Bonfire…

…and I purposefully used the Fox News logo – because I wanted Fox’s flesh-eating lawyers to force me to stop.

I thought it’d be funny and ironic if they sent me a cease-and-desist letter that essentially said, “You can’t steal our logo to make a point about our plagiarism!”

Instead, Bonfire itself emailed me Tuesday…

We’ve detected a potential problem with your shirt design. Specifically, your artwork incorporates the following elements that may be protected under a trademark: Fox News. To proceed with your current shirt design, we require a signed letter of permission from the trademark holder.

But Bonfire said I could create an “alternate design,” which I did…

…and which was also rejected because Fox has apparently created its own custom font – which looks strangely like Arial to me. But what do I know?

So then I designed this – using Arial…

…but fed up or scared or whatever, Bonfire closed my account. All that’s left is this odd page that implies the T-shirt campaign closed all by itself, and four people got their shirts.

In reality, no one got nothing. That means 37 people are shirtless today, and the staff at The Duquesne Duke is out $81 in its cut of the sales. Bonfire emailed me this morning, “We refund all orders for canceled campaigns and we did so for your orders.”

This leads me to conclude…

A T-shirt company is more ethical than Fox News, and Fox News is less communicative than a T-shirt company.

To skirt trademark law, I’m going to print the original shirts myself. But I won’t sell them. I’ll give them to The Dusquesne Duke staff, who can give them away to whoever they please. That’ll make it editorial comment, just on cloth instead of paper.

Or The Duke staff can actually sell the shirts – because that might be the only way they’ll ever hear back from Fox News. Up to them.

Dammit, nothing is simple in journalism these days.

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