Skip to main content

Minnesota man wins legal fight over right to parody security agencies

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A Sauk Rapids man is declaring victory in an out of court settlement of his lawsuit against the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan McCall, who runs Libertymaniacs.com from his home, tells the St. Cloud Times "They basically gave me everything I was asking for. It's a victory for First Amendment rights."

McCall filed his lawsuit with the help of the government watchdog group Public Citizen after the agencies ordered him to stop selling merchandise – shirts, mugs, and hats – bearing slogans satirizing the federal government.

As the Times reports, the NSA objected, for example, to the use of its official seal alongside the slogan "The only part of the government that actually listens."

The agencies sent a cease-and-desist letter to the maker of McCall's merchandise, Zazzle.com. The Washington Post reports that as part of Tuesday's settlement the NSA is acknowledging that the federal law it cited "does not prohibit ... items intended to parody the NSA."

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security agrees that the law does not apply to people making a commentary about the agency, the Post says.

A blogger for The Hill quotes a Public Citizen lawyer who worked on the case saying “Citizens shouldn’t have to worry whether criticizing government agencies will get them in trouble or not." Under the settlement the agencies agree to pay McCall $500 to offset his legal costs.

In Public Citizen's statement about the settlement McCall says “I'm glad the case helped reaffirm the right to lampoon our government. I always thought parody was a healthy tradition in American society. It's good to know that it's still legal.”

Next Up

Stillwater Prison

Investigation after inmate found dead in cell at Stillwater prison

Drug paraphernalia was found by officers inside the cell.

2 (3)

Focus is on family fitness at this year’s Twin Cities Marathon

Don’t miss out on the running, racing and all the fun things to do for the whole family

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 2.29.47 PM

Family's tributes to mother killed by partner in St. Paul murder-suicide

The 30-year-old was killed by her partner, who then killed himself.

FatalEaganCrashSceneAug18

Eagan man killed after crashing into traffic signal

The 30-year-old crashed into a traffic light early Wednesday morning.

Melvin Carter

What's in Mayor Melvin Carter's budget proposal?

Here's what the St. Paul mayor is putting his focus on for the upcoming year.

WCCO building

Digital, streaming employees at WCCO-TV vote to unionize

The 15 employees will join on-air talent and producers as members of the SAG-AFTRA union.

unnamed-3

Police arrest man suspected of sexual assault, weapons threat in Eagan

The investigation prompted a SWAT response in an Eagan neighborhood on Tuesday.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 16

The latest reporting period averaged just under 1,300 new cases per day.

USATSI_12923669

Jason and Carly Zucker sell Edina home for $4.18M

The property was bought in 2020, months after Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Related