Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A Defiant Dude's video poster
Play

A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website. Documentary. Read more

1,976
backers
$89,700
pledged of $75,000 goal
0
seconds to go

Funded!

This project was successfully funded on March 25, 2012.

A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website. Documentary.

A quote from our interview in Paris + "Artists must create and shouldn't be afraid"

6 likes

Hello Backers, a quick note that follows on the horrific and heartbreaking massacre in Paris on the satirical weekly paper, Charlie Hebdo.

One of the last interviews we conducted for our documentary was just prior to Thanksgiving in Paris where we interviewed Ludovic Houplain, a French graphic artist who, with a handful of other graphic artists created the short film, 'LOGORAMA,' a parody of nearly 3000 logos that critiqued our obsession with brands and trademarks.

A still image from the short film, LOGORAMA, a short film that is a parody and critique of our obsession with trademarks and logos.
A still image from the short film, LOGORAMA, a short film that is a parody and critique of our obsession with trademarks and logos.

The French have a great tradition of critique and parody, and proudly protect their right to free speech -- even when it concerns trademarks and logos.

This was proudly on display in the Academy Award-winning short film LOGORAMA where, along with many other logos engaging in a less-than-corporate-approved way, Ronald McDonald is depicted wielding a machine gun and shooting at kids with bullets that are the logo for the NRA (National Rifle Association).

In the U.S. trademarks and logos are often considered sacrosanct property, and off limits for artists -- Chick-fil-A's cease and desist letter to Bo is one of many examples that perpetuate this myth. But from a legal standpoint, this is largely not true -- yet it's a widely held perception that moved one American University scholar to address the issue in a paper entitled "LOGORAMA: The Great Trademark Heist."

Anyway, the terrible events in Paris of the past week made us think of our interview with Ludovic Houplain who, with solemn poignancy, had some great things to say about artists and their rights to free speech:

"I'm an artist, and in France I have the right free speech and I'm going to use it. And if they attack me, I'll defend myself in saying that this is French law, which is part of our right to free speech. And the right to parody and caricature in the US -- it's not really the same deal as here, so, I'm really counting on French law. ... As far as freedom of expression goes, I think that artists should take precedence over brands; if not, the world might be ruled by fear. And if we are always afraid of things, we won't do anything, we won't create. I think that artists must create and shouldn't be afraid. And at the same time, with a work of art, we're not hurting anybody: a work of art can't make somebody sick. And if you want to make a work of art that critiques brands, well that's your right as an artist. It is our right to free speech. Then afterwards, you have to accept the consequences, because, at some point, a brand could bring you to trial. But you have your conscience. That's what we have: we have our consciences."

Our interview in Paris with Ludovic Houplain, one of the French graphic artists behind the film, LOGORAMA.
Our interview in Paris with Ludovic Houplain, one of the French graphic artists behind the film, LOGORAMA.

**

Our hearts and thoughts go to the families and friends of those slain in Paris.

Okay, that's all for now. Work on our film continues. As always, thank you for your support of our documentary in production. Until next time...

A report to backers: Where do we go from here, and when will we get there?

5 Comments
4 likes

For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Bo's press conference + Some (really) long term plans for the 'Eat More Kale guy'

23 likes

Hello Backers and Supporters! 

It's official -- on Friday December 12th, 2014, on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier along with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Bo Muller-Moore held a press conference and made a big announcement concerning his efforts to trademark 'Eat More Kale.' 

Bo's opening statement at the press conference: 

"I'm so glad to stand before you with some good news! For 38 months I've been in a legal wrestling match with the fast food giant, Chick-fil-A, and the U.S. trademark office. Well I'm proud to announce that as of December 9th I've been granted a trademark for my design for Eat More Kale. And as important as that trademark is, I've called Chick-fil-A's bluff on their cease and desist demands. I am not ceasing and desisting -- I am thriving thanks to people like you and thanks to Vermont and people from beyond."

As you can imagine, Bo was happy to be making his announcement surrounded by friends, family and supporters. In addition to the invited guests, there were also about a dozen members of the press in attendance. 

Following the press conference, Bo gave us an interview in which he was reflective and surprisingly pensive. 

Bo: "When I mentioned that to Melissa, she said, 'You're really thinking about what your tombstone is going to look like? And I said, 'I am."
Bo: "When I mentioned that to Melissa, she said, 'You're really thinking about what your tombstone is going to look like? And I said, 'I am."

We sat down with Bo in Meeting Room 11 in the statehouse and, surrounded by portraits of former governors and civil war generals, conducted an hour long on-camera interview in which Bo mused on the day's events, his three year journey to get his trademark registered, and mortality: 

"I like the idea of being 'Bo the Eat More Kale guy' so much that I've decided recently that when I die I want to be buried at Hope Cemetery over in Barre, a cemetery that's famous for its custom tombstones -- and I've decided recently that I want a tombstone shaped like a t-shirt and I want it to say 'Here lies Bo, the Eat More Kale guy.' And I hope when people see that they'll say, 'That was that guy who stood up to the chicken slingers.' ... I hope 'Eat More Kale' and the idea of 'Eat More Kale' will last. And I hope the memory of the guy that stands up to billionaires will last. And if it means that I have to purchase my own tombstone shaped like a t-shirt, I'm that shameless. I would love the idea of someone standing above my grave and saying, 'That's the guy that decided to stand up and fight the impossible fight.'"

If you'd like to check out some of the press coverage on Bo's announcement, here are links to coverage from the AP, Huffington Post and SevenDays with Seven Questions for Bo

A photo essay from our footage of the press conference: 

Our next update will be prior to Christmas.

Okay folks, Bo's news is obviously big news for our documentary which -- assuming nothing changes, or before the USPTO issues Eat More Kale's trademark registration in the next six months -- it means we potentially have an ending! It also means we can finally begin planning the last stages of the production and completion of the film. So I'll be back in touch before Christmas with a complete run down of where our film is now, where we're heading, and an idea of when we'll get there. 

In the meantime, have a great beginning to your holiday season!

AP NewsBreak: Vermont Folk Artist Wins Trademark Protection for 'Eat More Kale' Phrase

52 likes

Good Morning from Snowy Vermont! 

Our camera crew is heading to the Vermont statehouse in Montpelier this morning for a press conference with Governor Peter Shumlin where Bo will announce that he has won trademark protection for 'Eat More Kale'. We'll send another post in a day or two with pictures and video from the press conference, but in the meantime we wanted to share with you the AP NewsBreak this morning. You can check out the link here. 

Vermont Statehouse where Governor Peter Shumlin will hold press conference with Bo Muller-Moore to announce USPTO decision on 'Eat More Kale'
Vermont Statehouse where Governor Peter Shumlin will hold press conference with Bo Muller-Moore to announce USPTO decision on 'Eat More Kale'

And here's the AP NewsBreak in full: 

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A folk artist who became a folk hero to some after picking a fight with fast-food giant Chik-fil-A over use of the phrase "eat more kale" — similar to their trademarked "eat mor chikin" — has won his legal battle.

Bo Muller-Moore said Thursday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted his application to trademark "eat more kale," a phrase he says promotes local agriculture. He silk-screens the phrase on T-shirts and sweatshirts and prints them on bumper stickers that are common in Vermont and beyond.

When asked what he felt caused the trademark office to approve his application, Muller-Moore, of Montpelier, said, "Your guess is as good as mine." The news was posted on the office's website Tuesday.

"I'd like to think that maybe some persistence and polite defiance, you know, and proving to them that we were in it for the long haul," he said. "If it took us a decade, we're going to fight for a decade."

Muller-Moore is planning a formal announcement of his victory Friday with Gov. Peter Shumlin and other supporters on the Statehouse steps.

"The message is out: Don't mess with Vermont. And don't mess with Bo," Shumlin said Thursday in a statement. "This isn't just a win for the little guy who stands up to a corporate bully; it's a win for our state. In Vermont, we care about what's in our food, who grows it, and where it comes from."

"Cows love kale, too," said Carrie Kurlander, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Chik-fil-A.

Muller-Moore started using the phrase in 2000 after a farmer friend who grows the leafy vegetable that is known for its nutritional value asked him to make three T-shirts for his family for $10 each.

The phrase caught on and, with the approval of the farmer, Muller-Moore began putting it on clothing and bumper stickers.

In the summer of 2011, Muller-Moore sought to trademark the phrase. It was a short time later that Chik-fil-A sent Muller-Moore a letter telling him to stop using the phrase because the company felt it could be confused with "eat mor chikin." In the letter, Chik-fil-A cited 30 examples of others who had tried to use the "eat more" phrase and withdrew it after the company objected.

But Muller-Moore refused.

"In our case, we said we're not going to cease and desist until a federal judge tells us to and as far as the trademark goes, I never wavered from the idea that I deserved protection from copycat artists," Muller-Moore said.

His public fight drew the support of Shumlin and a team of pro-bono lawyers, including law students from the University of New Hampshire legal clinic.

News from Bo coming soon! + Our interview in France + Many thanks!

0 Comments
4 likes

For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.