Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Al Franken Fights back

This is an interesting follow-up to the Franken/O’Reilly fireworks from June….

Yahoo! News – Funnyman Franken Fires Back at Fox’s Lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Humorist Al Franken fought back against Fox News Network on Tuesday over a lawsuit it filed claiming he infringed on its “fair and balanced” trademark by using the phrase on the cover of his upcoming book.

“From everything I know about law regarding satire, I’m not worried,” liberal satirist Franken said in a statement issued by publishers Penguin Group.

Franken questioned the way he was described by the network, part of the News Corp group, in the 17-page suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday and made public on Monday.

“As far as the personal attacks go, when I read ‘intoxicated or deranged’ and ‘shrill and unstable’ in their complaint, I thought for a moment I was a Fox commentator.

“And by the way, a few months ago, I trademarked the word ‘funny.’ So when Fox calls me ‘unfunny,’ they’re violating my trademark. I am seriously considering a countersuit,” he said.

Fox is seeking an injunction against use of the phrase in connection with Franken’s book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” due to be published next month. At the bottom of the planned cover is the tag line “a fair and balanced look at the right.”

Fox said in the suit that Franken flew into a rage near a table of Fox News personalities at a press correspondents’ dinner in April and acted “either intoxicated or deranged.”

It said Franken has become “increasingly unfunny.”

“Franken is neither a journalist nor a television news personality. He is not a well-respected voice in American politics; rather, he appears to be shrill and unstable,” the suit said.

Fox claims it registered the phrase “fair and balanced” in 1997 and that it “was created as a specific alternative to what its founders perceived as a liberal bias in the American media.”

Franken worked as a comedy writer in the 1970s and has appeared frequently on “Saturday Night Live.”

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