Sunday, January 30, 2011
Did you know that you can't use the word Realtor?
In case the incident of Park Life's balloon dog is not surreal enough, Larisa Naples, who created an audio drama called "The Realtor and the CEO" received a series of cease and desist letters from the National Association of Realtors last week, demanding that she 'excise[s] all uses of the word Realtor from [her] URL, web site, audio-drama title, audio-drama art work, and audio drama recordings. Otherwise, they will sue [her] for "trademark infringement."'
She wrote (via email), 'I spent all of last week talking to trademark lawyers associated with the California Lawyers for the Arts, and legal advisers at ACLU and EFF. Apparently, we have a pretty clear first amendment right to use the word Realtor in a work of fiction, when actually referring to a Realtor (as we did), however, the estimated cost of hiring a lawyer to defend that right against a large, well-funded organization based in Illinois is prohibitive. We might win in the end, but could be financially ruined in the process.'
'I have closed www.realtorandceo.com. New, "bleeped" versions of the audio drama stories are now available for free listening or download/purchase on my personal web site, www.larisanaples.com. Along with a carefully worded description of the stories, crafted to avoid making any use of the now forbidden "R-word."'