Magazine | July 9, 2018, Issue

Nazis v. Mainstream Media

Adolf Hitler (center) flanked by SS officers (German Federal Archive via Wikimedia)

United States District Court

For the Southern District of New York

Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, et al.

(representing umbrella interests, see attached)

PLAINTIFFS

v.

CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, et al.

(representing “mainstream media,” see attached)

DEFENDANTS

 

CIVIL ACTION

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

PARTIES

Plaintiffs: Messrs. Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, et al. (in absentia) and other parties within the umbrella categories of “Nazi” (not to exclude “Fascist”) and “pure evil” and other names commonly associated with 1930s- to 1940s-era German National Socialism. Plaintiffs are sole owners and proprietors of the trademarks and associated trade dress of “Nazi” and its cousins.

Defendants: Owners and operators of CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, and other parties within the umbrella category of “media” and “news,” not to exclude other members of news media to be named later. Also to include Fox News from January 2009 to January 2017 (known informally as “the Obama years”).

FACTS

It is asserted by Plaintiffs that Defendants have willfully and without hesitation infringed on their unique and specific trademark, market identity, trade dress, intellectual property, and market position. It is further asserted by Plaintiffs that Defendants’ repeated invocations and statements of “Nazi” and “Fascist” and “Nazi Fascist dictator” and “The darkness of Fascism is falling upon America” and “just like Hitler” and “just like the Nazis” (see Appendix A) have irrevocably harmed the intrinsic value and rarity of the Nazi brand, which has been carefully maintained in its specific identity and market position.

Plaintiffs assert that the use of “Nazi” and “Fascist” and “evil dictator” in perpetual and promiscuous reference to the current occupant of the White House and his policies (N.B.: In the case of Defendant Fox News, this refers to the previous occupant of the White House, though damages are still claimed) willfully diminishes the meaning of the true brand and renders the market position of members of the original National Socialist Party severely impaired if not reduced to an “also ran” status.

In essence, Plaintiffs argue that “if everyone is a Nazi then no one is a Nazi,” which implies a clear and measurable taking, without compensation, of Plaintiffs’ copyright, trademark, and intellectual-property holdings.

CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

  1. A) Infringement of Trademark, Look-and-Feel, Unique Trade Dress

By its repeated use of the language and labels created and refined by Plaintiffs, Defendants have used without compensation the work product of several decades. Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs alone can be labeled “Fascist” and “Nazi.” They and they alone are the holders of the market positioning of such terms as “concentration camps” and “eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany” in all public forms of discourse. Each one of the Defendants has repeatedly used Plaintiffs’ images and copyrighted terms to describe the following: (incomplete list) the Paris climate accords, border procedures, capital-gains-tax reductions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (Fox News only), NATO financial obligations, Dodd-Frank regulations (Fox News only), aluminum-importation tariffs, and Twitter. Messrs. Hitler, Himmler, et al. have been subject to absurd and actionable comparisons, including to (incomplete list) Presidents Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump; Speakers of the House Gingrich, Ryan, and Pelosi (Fox News only); and all secretaries of defense who served in Republican administrations. This is clearly a degradation of the terms “Nazi” and “Fascist” — terms that represent very real value to Plaintiffs.

In each case, the use of trademarked terms that are reserved by Plaintiffs to describe themselves has reduced those terms’ potency and value in the marketplace. And in each case, Defendants have willfully attempted to blur the distinction between Plaintiffs’ unique and specific brand and that of, quite literally, any political enemy.

Nazism is a singular brand. There is nothing like it, and there is nothing that approaches it.

  1. B) Reputational Damage

Plaintiffs have enjoyed an unblemished reputation for several decades as uniquely evil and uniquely murderous. In addition, this reputation has been challenged by many (see Pol Pot v. CBS News) who have had their own issues with trademark and market-identity infringement. To suggest, as Defendants do in their response, that they are merely saying this or that political enemy is “a lot like” or “almost” or “close to” or “reminiscent of” Plaintiffs’ valuable market identity is a farce on its face.

DAMAGES

Plaintiffs demand an immediate cessation of any and all comparisons in any and all public fora to their branded and trademarked activities, not to exclude any actions related to seizing power in Germany, acts of war throughout Europe, and intra–German Zone security measures (including the Holocaust™), for a period of fifteen (15) years.

Plaintiffs claim damages in excess of $100 million (roughly 1.9 billion Reichsmarks) to be paid immediately, and in addition another fund of $100 million to be paid to Plaintiffs yet to emerge from hiding. Plaintiffs will accept payment in stolen art masterpieces.

 

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