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ZIG ZAG Cease and Desist

So I received a cease and desist order via registered mail today from ZIG ZAG. It’s 3 pages of their request, followed by 50 pages of their copyrights they own. In one part their letter mentions “Even though your use of our client’s copyrighted works make a political spoof of Mr. Justin Trudeau, these activities can hardly be characterized as “fair” and would constitute copyright infringement.” Although, they are not requesting costs, or damages, they are requesting I cease and desist manufacturing, advertising and selling them by March 21st 2014, if not they want costs and damages.

They site an early Canadian case involving PAGE 287: Source Perrier v. Fira-Less Marketing Co. Limited [1983]. The plaintiff, Source Perrier, a French company, is the bottler and distributor of bottled spring water marketed under the name ‘Perrier’. The defendant, Fira-Less Marketing Co. Limited, was manufacturing and advertising 750 ml bottles of carbonated water in association with the name ‘Pierre Eh!’ as a spoof of the then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, by filling bottles with ordinary tap water and distributing them in a similar but different green bottle and different green top cap in a type face substantially similar to that used by the plaintiff.

Unlike the case sited, I was not manufacturing my own cigarette rolling papers, pocket machines for rolling cigarettes, or cigarette paper tubes. I did not manufacture the actual cigarette rolling papers. Unlike Fira-Less Marketing Co. Limited, I did not fill ordinary rolling papers into similar but different pocket machines for rolling cigarettes. Unlike Fira-Less Marketing Co. Limited, I did not try to replicate, change or alter the pocket machines for rolling cigarettes, the ZIG ZAG pack remained in tact.

I simply, went and purchased the actual ZIG ZAG cigarette rolling papers packs myself. Thousands and thousands of them at full retail price. Had Fira-Less Marketing Co. Limited purchased the bottles of Source Perrier, and simply re-branded the labels as a spoof, I assume the major difference in the facts of the cases, might also lead of a different judgment.

The reason for my actions, was because The Toronto Star leaked secret internal Conservative Party of Canada plans to disrupt the Liberal Party’s biennial convention, and divulged among the “gimmicky ideas” uncovered by the Star was a proposal to distribute Zig-Zag rolling papers with Trudeau’s face on them. I could not personally allow the Prime Minister of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada to use ZIG ZAG and JUSTIN TRUDEAU as an attack against marijuana legalization.

In creating these JUSTIN TRUDEAU ZIG ZAG cigarette rolling papers, I just want to make it clear in which way I re-branded the actual item and why I did so. I submit my motives were purely for political satire. An obvious parody of a National News story, that made it real, so people could relate more to the true implications.

So, although I am not necessarily agreeing that my actions were ‘unfair’ in this case, nor that they necessarily constituted similar activities that depreciated the value of your client’s goodwill, I do agree to fully abide by the terms of your cease and desist order if no further remedy is needed to resolve this matter amicably. In fact, the websites that we had online sales for them will have the items removed by March 21st, 2014, and all foregoing steps will have been taken to fully comply with your request by that date.

I hope this resolves this matter to your client’s satisfaction. I also wrote them a bit more back then I outlined here, but now that I got a cease and desist order, I am almost glad it’s over though. It was a lot of work. By a lot of awesome people. I am going to keep a box for myself. Maybe in 2015, when Justin Trudeau is PM, and marijuana is legalized, I’ll revamp the idea somehow. If there is demand of course. And with permission.

Also, I’m kind of proud, I’ve never received a cease and desist order before. It was fun while it lasted. On March 21st, 2014, I will no longer be legally permitted to manufacture, advertise, or sell Justin Trudeau Zig Zags. SO GET THEM NOW!!!

Chris Goodwin

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