Obama Rips Off the Tea Party Brand With “Orlando Tea Party”
By Le Corbeaunoir
The ballot qualified “TEA Party” is not the only non-Tea Party Movement group coveting the term “tea party” and attempting to deny or degrade its use by the Tea Party Movement: It appears that Barack Obama and his presidential campaign organization, Organizing for America (OFA), are attempting to co-opt the Tea Party “brand” with the publication of a website called “Orlando Tea Party.”
A “whois” search reveals the orlandoteaparty.org domain name was registered on March 23, 2009 by Chris Mitchell of Deltona Beach, Florida. Mitchell is reported to be an Obama supporter who was upset over the apparent success of the grassroots Tea Party Movement and created this website in response.
The website has the same color schemes and graphics of all OFA sites and features buttons for “Home,” “Barack Obama,” and “Health Care.” It is fully integrated with OFA operations and has been in open existence since at least February 1, 2010, beginning with a post by “C MITCHELL,” who is presumed to be the same person who initially registered the domain name. C MITCHELL also appears to be the the only person making signed posts to this site.
The site remains operational to the date of this article and was active during the midterm elections. There is no indication of the amount of traffic to this site, but general awareness of this site appears to be scant.
The site has no connection to conservative groups sharing nearly identical web addresses and names such as Orlando Tea Party, Inc. and Floridians Unite, or to any other conservative entity. While OFA is not attempting to dupe conservatives with this site, it is attempting to either co-opt the brand or significantly dilute it — and thereby damage the conservative grassroots Tea Party Movement in Florida. It also uses the technique of mimicking the opposition in order to increase the chances that the site will show up when an opponent or someone who is neutral does internet term searches.
OFA is apparently well aware of the similarities of the site’s name to names in use by Tea Party Movement organizations that might feel that the OFA site name infringes on their intellectual property, and is seeking to sidestep potential litigation by claiming it to be a “parody.” As such, the site bears the following rather curious notice and disclaimer:
©Copyright 2010, Orlando Tea Party
• DISCLAIMER: This site is not the orlando tea party, the online political activist site. Their address is http://www.orlandoteaparty.com. There is no affiliation or endorsement between orlandoteaparty.com. and orlandoteapart.org’s web site. (duh!) This site is driven by the 1st Amendment and the Constitution of the United States of America. No site information on orlandoteaparty.com is endorsed or affiliated with orlandoteaparty.org. The opinions of orlandoteaparty.org are limited to orlandoteaparty.org and may, or may not, be shared by any member, poster, or private citizen on Orlandoteaparty.org. The web site http://www.orlandoteaparty.org is a parody site, and protected by parody and fair use laws.
Aside from the grammar and spelling issues, the problem with this “disclaimer” is that none of the content on the site is a parody of anything, but is in actually a working webpage of the official Obama campaign that is using someone else’s name to attract business to its site. This is neither “parody” nor “fair use,” and it is truly pathetic.