Parents Sue Over Use of Slain Soldier's Name on Anti-War Shirts

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Dallas, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    PHOENIX — The parents of a Tennessee soldier killed in Iraq are suing an Arizona online merchant who included their son's name on anti-war shirts that list names of troops killed in the war.

    The lawsuit filed by Robin and Michael Read of Greeneville, Tenn., accuses Dan Frazier of Flagstaff of intentionally inflicting emotional harm by including Spc. Brandon Michael Read's name on casualty lists printed on "Bush lied — They died" T-shirts without permission and by ignoring a demand to remove their son's name.

    The suit seeks $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. It also asks that Frazier be permanently barred from using Brandon Read's name.
    Frazier's free-speech rights ended when he used Brandon Read's name for profit and any reasonable person would consider Frazier's actions outrageous, said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tennessee.
    Read, a 21-year-old member of the Army Reserve, was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq on Sept. 6, 2004.

    The family's attorney, Francis X. Santore Jr. of Greeneville, said local court rules prohibited him and his clients from discussing the case beyond a statement in which the parents discussed their son and asked to be left alone while they let the courts "resolve this highly personal situation."

    Frazier did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
    However, his company's web site ( says it continues to sell the shirts despite laws passed by Arizona and other states "because we believe the message is important."

    The Arizona law was enacted last year. It both generally made it a misdemeanor crime to use dead soldiers' names for commercial purposes without permission and authorized lawsuits.

    The law's criminal section was put on hold by a federal judge in Phoenix pending a final ruling on a challenge filed by Frazier on First Amendment grounds.

    In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake acknowledged that Frazier's use of casualties names may increase the hurt of loved ones but said the shirts are political speech.

    Though the law permits Frazier to use casualties' names if he obtains permission from designated family members, that amounts to a flat prohibition "given the difficulty and cost of finding, contacting and obtaining consent from the soldiers' numerous representatives," Wake said.

    Several states, including Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, have enacted similar laws.

    The lawsuit's filing was first reported Wednesday by the Arizona Capitol Times.
  2. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Good for them. Assuming their son was proud to serve and they were proud to have him serve, the maker of that shirt should not only be ashamed of themselves, but should be sued as well.
  3. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    I hope they take him for everthing he has so he is forced to shut down his website. What he is doing is appalling.
  4. Hostile

    Hostile Persona Non Grata Zone Supporter

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    If I were on the jury they would win. How dare anyone think he can use someone else's name (living or dead) for any reason without their permission.
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    That guy has no shot in court (the one selling the shirts)... and rightfully so.
  6. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    The tee-shirt in question lists the names of many, many casualties of the Iraq war - none more prominantly featured above others (with regard to character size). Aren't the names of war casualties a matter of public record? So the shirt portrays a certain political viewpoint that the parents probably do not share?

    Newpapers list the names of war casualties. Newspapers are sold. Newpapers feature editorial content - which I highly doubt is submitted for approval by the potentially aggrieved survivors. Other than the pricetag - I don't really see a terrible amount of difference.

    I understand the parents reasons for being upset. But I would suggest that their ire is misdirected. Tee-shirts don't kill people. War, on the other hand...

    I also understand that this view will be upsetting to some. Please feel free to convince me otherwise.
  7. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    no surprise that suspect supports this kind of garbage.

    He obviously never learned the difference between right and wrong.

    AND by the way celebrities can sue- so you claim that some drunken slut can sue but the family of a young man who died fighting for his country cannot.
  8. Hostile

    Hostile Persona Non Grata Zone Supporter

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    What were the politics of the soldiers named on those shirts? Did they all hate President Bush, this war, and think this was all about lies? How do you know this?

    If you had a son in Iraq and he was supportive of the President and all these efforts, would you want his name on that shirt? As if he were supporting that man's politics and statements?

    I wouldn't even if my son was opposed to being there. I would hate for someone to use my loss for a profit. Even if I was violently opposed to the war in Iraq (and I am not) I would sue if someone did that to my son's name.

    What makes it right? Politics against the war? Okay, let's change the circumstances.

    Your son is killed by a drunk driver and MADD puts his name on t-shirts without your permission and you see those t-shirts. You happy about it?

    What if your son had sex with his underage girlfriend and her Dad creates a t-shirt to protest those who have sex with minors and puts your son's name on the shirt?

    Unless you agree with drunk driving and underage sex these are 2 circumstances that are not the same politics. I think they are just as wrong. Just like when someone refuses to be shown on TV and has their image scrambled there is a right to privacy at issue here as well as right and wrong.
  9. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Let me ask you this ...... since you are such an anti war fella.

    If terrorist killed your child ..... would you want the Bush administration to use his picture as a pro war propaganda piece?

    This goes both ways ...... seems like even you would understand that .... then again maybe not.
  10. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    It's totally illegal to start with.

    If a sports card company wants to issue a card featuring a dead ball player they have to have the rights from the estate to do so because they are profiting from it.

    But a newspaper who writes a story about a dad ball player does not.

    Do you see the difference now, Suspect?
  11. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Just call me "the garbageman", burm. And please let me know when your Sunday School starts - I'll try to be there.

    Yes, celebrities CAN sue - just about anybody can initiate a civil suit. All it takes is $50 - and, unlike a criminal trial, a mere preponderance of evidence will win it. But please refresh my memory by providing any evidence I claimed "that some drunken slut can sue but the family of a young man who died fighting for his country cannot."

    All this shirt states, with regard to the casualties, is that "They died...". And, not to be glib - but, if one of the named parties steps forth to dispute that fact - I'll be all ears. Those deaths ARE a matter of public record.
  12. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    I understand that this is a touchy subject with many. The deaths of American servicemen will generate emotions like few subjects can. But this is NOT about the political beliefs of those servicemen. This is about those names, a matter of public record, being displayed on a tee-shirt displaying anti-Bush and anti-war sentiments. Again, no name more prominently displayed than another with regard to character size on the shirt (the intent is clearly not to draw attention to a particular name but to the overwhelming volume of the names - and so, the volume of American losses).

    I understand the potential for upsetting the surviving families. It's one of those situations where I can't truly know depth of their loss without having actually faced the loss of a child or spouse myself. I do know about the loss of a parent - so I have some context.

    However, I see no evidence that the purveyor of these shirts is denouncing, slandering, or otherwise harming the character of the casualties. He's only stating the obvious with regard to them - that they are no longer with us. Again, a matter of public record. And war casualties SHOULD be a matter of public record. The day we begin to allow our government to secret from us the human cost of their policy and actions - will be a sorry day indeed.

    The critical content of the shirt was directly leveled at Bush and the Iraq War.

    Hostile, if my son were killed by a drunk driver: I would hope his name were used by MADD in any attempt to raise public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.

    And if he were having sex with underage girls I suspect a tee-shirt would be about the least of my worries. I'd probably be pretty busy trying to raise funds for bail, legal defense, psychological counseling, etc. No offense - but it's really not a compelling analogy.

    Yes, it's upsetting to some of the surviving family members. But out of four thousand casualties - there are likely other surviving families who feel just as offended by the war and Bush foreign policy.

    I have a tendency to favor the rights of the individual to freedom of expression. He may be offending some. He may be offending many. But I don't view him as denigrating the war dead. Just the policy that culminated in their loss. And that's what this great country is all about. We all have a voice here.
  13. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    "Anti war fella"...? So what does that make you... a "pro war fella"?

    I wouldn't want the Bush administration to use my child's picture as a propaganda piece for any reason. And they don't have to. They have all the propaganda machinery they need already in place - and have for some time. It was effective enough to dupe us to jump from Afghanistan to Iraq. And after five years did all of Bush's pigeons come out from under the ether? Heck no. Now some are lining up to support military action against Iran.
  14. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    If your speaking to the difference between freedom of the press and a licensing agreement to sell the name or image of a private citizen - I don't think it's a very good analogy.

    The names of our war dead are a matter of public record and the shirt in question doesn't attempt to trade on any one of those names in particular. About four-thousand names that are displayed in uniform character size and very obviously intended to impact the anti-war political sentiment expressed by evidencing the volume of our losses.

    I think a judge will get that it's a "free speech" matter. Maybe not. We'll see.
  15. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    I'm not debating the tastelessness of this issue, just the legality of it. If you are using ones name for profit without their permission and they are not considered a public figure then you are violating them.

    Home run records are a matter of public records as well but if a card company wants to include a card commemorating Babe Ruths records they have to have his estates permission.

    BTW, I do think it's tasteless and ignorant of this guy to do this.

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