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

Rennia Davis

Lynx select Rennia Davis in 2021 WNBA Draft

The Tennessee wing was selected ninth overall

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 7.08.23 PM

Appeal to find girl, 14, missing from Benson

Cienna Pittman went missing Tuesday.

Miguel Sano

Walk-off win for Twins snaps 5-game losing streak

Miguel Sano homered, but Max Kepler had the winning hit.

alatus

St. Paul mayor vetoes council's denial of $57M apartment complex

The project has raised affordable housing and gentrification concerns, but the mayor says all types of housing are needed in St. Paul.

Michael Pierce

Coller: Michael Pierce is a breath of fresh air for the Vikings

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

protest, Daunte Wright

In letter, Hennepin Sheriff asks Brooklyn Center: Do you still want our help?

Dave Hutchinson has asked Mayor Mike Elliott whether the city still needs help from other law enforcement agencies.

Image from iOS (1)

Fatal crash closes eastbound Hwy. 62 in Minneapolis

The closure is expected to be in place for an "extended period of time."

police tape, crime scene

Boy, 15, identified as 1 of 2 killed in shooting after crash in Minneapolis

The shooting happened after two vehicles crashed around 2 a.m. April 12.

Related