the Yes Men staged a fake press conference at the National Press Club
to "reveal" the Chamber supported cap-and-trade legislation, the
Chamber has decided to sue the group for misappropriating its logo and
violating a host of related copyrights.
"The Chamber is a strong
proponent of free speech and encourages public debate on issues of the
day," said Steven Law, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a statement Monday. "However, the law is
clear that you can't misappropriate others' intellectual property for
personal financial gain."
The Yes Men began last week's hoax with
a press release announcing the Chamber had made an "about face," and
now supported pending climate change legislation in Congress. After a
few reporters picked up on the release -- some of which accidentally
reported it as true -- the activist group held a press conference to
further make the case for why the Chamber now backed Democrats' climate
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But about 30 minutes into that press event, a
Chamber spokesperson entered the room and ended the conference. The
Chamber has since reiterated it does not, in fact, support climate
change legislation, and the duped reporters have ultimately published
their mea culpas.
On Monday, however, the Chamber of Commerce
revealed it would also follow through with its original promise of
legal action against the Yes Men. In their civil suit, filed in federal
court on Monday, the Chamber argues the group is not comprised of
"merry pranksters tweaking the establishment." Instead, explained the
Chamber's legal adviser, the Yes Men "deliberately broke the law in
order to further commercial interest in their books, movies, and other
"Ironically and unfortunately, this lawsuit might
even help in that regard, but these acts are nothing less than
commercial identity theft masquerading as social activism and must be
stopped," Law said in a statement.