The debate over Sam Adams is heating up. No, not over the City Commissioner and Candidate for Mayor's campaign platform, but over his name. Several days ago Adams along with KEX radio hosts and supporters Mark Mason and Dave Anderson were contacted by the Boston Brewing company alleging that their use of the samadamsformayor.com domain was copyright infringement on the beer brand. Since then, the story has taken off on the internet.
The Boston Daily discusses the brew-ha-ha:
Portland’s City Commissioner, Sam Adams, is running for mayor. Some local talk radio hosts bought some Sam Adams-related domain names for the candidate, which led to a cease and desist order from the Boston-based beer brewer of the same name.
The letter from Boston Beer Co. came to [talk radio host Dave] Anderson last week.
“Boston Beer has used the trademarks SAM ADAMS and SAMUEL ADAMS since 1984,” said the letter, which asked Anderson to surrender the Web sites.
The candidate’s retort makes us want to vote for him.
“They say they’ve been using this trademark since 1984,” Adams said. “I’ve been using it since 1963.”
The Boston Beer Company apparently thought the websites were hoaxes and have since taken a gentler tone with the Oregonian Adams. However, he may not be able to remain master of his domain after the election.
[Boston Beer Co. spokesperson Helen] Bornemann said she’s willing to discuss Adams’ use of his name on his Web sites “probably for the length of the time the election is being held.”
We think it would be pretty clear to anyone who landed on mayorsamadams.com that it wasn’t affiliated with the brewing company. Let’s hope Portland’s Sam Adams has the spirit of Boston’s patriot and tells the company he’s keeping his URL.
Read the comments to the story, where you will find James X's interesting point; Sam Adams used to be brewed in Portland. Rumors also abound of a possible "Portland Beer Party" where Adams' campaign will dump the beer into the Willamette.
Rusty's Blog calls for an all-out boycott of the beer:
Mark and Dave, the afternoon drive guys at KEX radio, recently registered a couple of domain names for Commissioner Sam as he runs for mayor of Portland. One is www.samadamsformayor.com, and the other is www.mayorsamadams.com .
All well and good, right? Well, it was all well and good until the Boston Brewing Company, owners of Sam Adams Beer, got wind of it. After hearing that the domain names had been purchased, they knee-jerked a reaction and fired off a cease-and-desist letter as fast as can be. If Mark and Dave don't give up the domain names by October 29, something ominous will apparently occur.
Just stupid. So I call on whoever sees this to boycott Sam Adams Beer for being un-American and generally ridiculous, for having no sense of humor, and for generally sucking. And, while you're at it, tell them they suck and that they should drop this idiotic issue before they get even more negative press than they're already getting from it.
On his blog, Isaac Laquedem wonders if it isn't Boston Brewing and not Sam Adams who is violating the law:
If, as the brewer says, it's possible for someone to confuse the candidate with the beer, then it must also be possible for someone to confuse the beer with the candidate ("because," as Professor Lehrer sang, "addition is commutative"). Since the brewer admits that people could confuse the candidate with the beer, the brewer should read ORS 260.695, relating to election offenses, which includes this charming passage:
260.695 Prohibitions relating to voting in elections conducted by mail or at polling place.
(2) No person, within any building in which a polling place is located or, in an election conducted by mail, after the date that ballots are mailed as provided in ORS 254.470, within any building in which ballots are issued, or within 100 feet measured radially from any entrance to the building, shall do any electioneering, including circulating any cards or hand bills, or soliciting signatures to any petition. No person shall do any electioneering by public address system located more than 100 feet from an entrance to the building but capable of being understood within 100 feet of the building. The electioneering need not relate to the election being conducted.
Chapter 260 doesn't define "polling place."
As all Oregon elections are now conducted by mail, isn't the home of every registered voter a "polling place"? And if so, then -- keeping in mind that people may confuse Sam Adams the beer with Sam Adams the candidate -- isn't it unlawful for Sam Adams (the beer vendor) to locate its Sam Adams labels within 100 feet of any Portland building that houses a registered voter? Or a ballot drop site (like a mailbox)? Or a post office? Or to have a radio spot running on election day?
Elsewhere, a copy of the letter is available at KEX.