01/11/2012 12:47 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

'Occupy Oakland Tribune' Poses Challenge For Actual Oakland Tribune

This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.

By Erin Sherbert

​In a fun twist of irony, the Oakland Tribune newspaper is attempting to quash the freedom of speech of another local news outlet, with a cease and desist order sent earlier this week.

According to writers at the newly established activist paper, the "Occupy Oakland Tribune," the other Tribune is demanding the smaller news outlet disable its content and stop using the word "Tribune" in its name, saying it "tarnishes and diminishes the value" of the city's flagship paper.

The "Occupy Oakland Tribune" started in November, a few days before the Occupy Oakland movement held a general strike where thousands of protesters filled the streets and shut down banks and the Port of Oakland. With only a few hundred daily readers, the online and print newspaper covers the Occupy Movement and pens commentary on activism, cultural issues, and the mainstream media. To date, it's printed two editions.

But the Trib's obvious threat by the amateur new outlet should perhaps be viewed as nothing more than a sad commentary on the declining state of print media. Is the Trib really that worried about losing more subscribers?

The Occupy Trib isn't concerned about it. Taking a lesson from the Occupy Movement itself, "Occupy Oakland Tribune" writers happily told BANG executives where they could shove their daily news.

"There is no way we are going to be intimidated by the Bay Area News Group," said Scott Johnson, who founded the "Occupy Oakland Tribune." "This is just another effort by the 1percent to push around the 99 percent."

It's worth noting that the newspaper industry reporters are hardly part of the one percent, but we digress.

Johnson pointed out that there is no way for consumer confusion between the two media outlets, which have completely different formats, graphics, font, and layout. Moreover, the banner of the Occupy Trib clearly distinguishes itself as "Occupied," referencing Occupy Oakland and the 99 percent. "Oakland readers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between these two extremely different publications," the paper states.

Additionally, the Occupy Tribune isn't sold, but rather handed out for free at protests organized by Occupy Oakland. Thus, trademark law does not apply, Johnson said.

"We are not afraid of a lawsuit," Johnson said. "And we are confident that a court would issue sanctions against BANG if they attempted to sue."

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