The Slants Case will Set Precedent
Simon Tam, founder of the Asian-American punk rock band—The Slants, came by Indiana University Bloomington as the Keynote speaker for the first ever Indiana Asian American Conference. He spoke briefly about the current ongoing case involving the band’s name—The Slants. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board deemed the name to be “disparaging”, but nevertheless, the band continues to fight for their First Amendment right.
The Slants is not the only case out there facing the same accusations and restraints. The football team, Redskins, is also considered falling within a “disparaging” group. The federal statute prohibits marks to be registered if deemed “disparaging”, meaning that the trademark law will not stop people from infringing on Redskins goods but they are still allowed to use their name. The cases go much deeper than trademark law; it questions those groups’ rights to the First Amendment. The government allows promoting private speech, including tax exemptions for churches, schools, etc. However, the government will not allow the freedom of speech if it considers the speech to be seen as itself speaking. Generally, the government does not want trademarks, including The Slants, to publicly associate itself with the government’s views.
The Slants case will be heard on October 2. Their case will set precedent.
What are your opinions on the matter? Some of you even had the opportunity to listen to Simon Tam’s story. Leave your comments below!