The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have issued “cease and desist” letters to a novelty store owner who sells products that poke fun at the federal government.
Dan McCall, who lives in Minnesota and operates LibertyManiacs.com, sells T-shirts with the agency’s official seal that read: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,” Judicial Watch first reported.
Other parodies say, “Spying on you since 1952,” and “Peeping while you’re sleeping,” the report said.
Federal authorities claimed the parody images violate laws against the misuse, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, Judicial Watch reported.
Mr. McCall removed the items from his website, but he also has filed a federal complaint claiming the government is violating his First Amendment rights.
“McCall’s use of images of the NSA and DHS seals, whether unaltered but in combination with critical text, or altered in parodic form, did not create any likelihood of confusion about the source or sponsorship of the materials on which they were available to be printed,” the complaint reads. “No reasonable viewer is likely to believe that any of the materials is affiliated with or sponsored by defendants. Nor were the seals affixed to the items to be sold with any fraudulent intent.”
Mr. McCall’s complaint demands that the agencies declare his “NSA Listens Parody, his NSA Spying Parody, and his DHS Stupidity Parody, using the NSA and DHS seals, are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”