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War on terrorism over: Homeland Security polices copyright instead

From Yahoo news:

ST. HELENS, Ore. - So far as she knows, Pufferbelly Toys owner Stephanie Cox hasn't been passing any state secrets to sinister foreign governments, or violating obscure clauses in the Patriot Act.

So she was taken aback by a mysterious phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to her small store in this quiet Columbia River town just north of Portland.

"I was shaking in my shoes," Cox said of the September phone call. "My first thought was the government can shut your business down on a whim, in my opinion. If I'm closed even for a day that would cause undue stress."

When the two agents arrived at the store, the lead agent asked Cox whether she carried a toy called the Magic Cube, which he said was an illegal copy of the Rubik's Cube, one of the most popular toys of all time.

He told her to remove the Magic Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.
[...]
"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," [spokesclown Virginia Kice] said.

Six weeks after her brush with Homeland Security, Cox told The Oregonian she is still bewildered by the experience.

"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.

Apparently not. Clowns.

Comments (3)

haha
"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.

Smilodon:

the problem with the story is that trademark is not the same as copyright or patent. The article doesn't say what the trademark that was violated was but after reading some responses on slashdot it seems it could be either on the trade dress of the rubiks cube or it could be the name 'magic cube' which is also trademarked.
As for the agents involved, thats their job. A whole lot of federal agencies were folded into the department of homeland security and they still have to do the jobs they were mandated to do no matter what silly name some dumbass has decided they should work under.

I'm surprised by that. You'd think that the idea of forming a Department of Homeland Security would be that they'd, you know, improve homeland security. Gather information on suspicious activity, dismantle terrorist cells, that sort of thing.
That's a worthwhile thing to do, on the whole. I'm sure that's what I most people who supported the idea of forming such a department thought they would be doing - not enforcing trademark. It's not the name that's silly, it's the deviation from the agency's original purpose.

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