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NSA slap-down: Feds lose court try to curb mocking T-shirts

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A Minnesota man who was sent a cease-and-desist letter by the federal government over his sales of merchandise, which mocks the National Security Agency's citizen surveillance activities, has won his legal battle.

"It's a victory for First Amendment rights," said Dan McCall, of Sauk Rapids, who runs LibertyManiancs.com, in FoxNews.com.

Among his products: T-shirts that display the seal of the NSA along with text that states: "The only part of the government that actually listens."

NSA and Department of Homeland Security officials sent Mr. McCall cease-and-desist demands last fall, FoxNews.com reported. Mr. McCall headed to court and just this week learned that the government had dropped its attempt to prohibit sales of the items.

As part of the settlement, the NSA also had to admit that the shirt designs and merchandise were only intended to parody to the government — and to retract their allegations that the items broke federal law. Moreover, Mr. McCall won back his $500 court costs after the judge ordered the government to pick up the tab, FoxNews.com reported.

"I think this case showed the hush that can happen on the Web when people attempt to satire or write stuff," Mr. McCall told the local newspaper, the St. Cloud Times. "People are reluctant to do satire or parodies and criticize these agencies when something like this hangs over you. I got a ton of letters from other artists saying, 'I want to wait and see how this turns out for you before I do anything.' "

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