Via Wired (hat tip – reader Tom):
The left-leaning political advocacy group, MoveOn.org, is backing down in a flap over the use of its name in online advertisements, permitting an influential Republican senator to criticize the organization in a reelection ad on Google’s search engine.
“We don’t want to support a policy that denies people freedom of expression,” says Jennifer Lindenauer, MoveOn.org’s communications director.
Both MoveOn.org and Google late last week faced a barrage of criticism after an internet strategist for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine complained that Google had blocked several re-election ads from the search engine’s advertising network because the ads contained the trademarked term “MoveOn.org” in the text.
“Stop Moveon.org. More MoveOn money in Maine than anywhere else. Learn how to help,” read one of the banned ads, which linked to Collins’ reelection campaign site.
Under Google’s trademark policy, owners can request that third parties’ not be allowed to use their trademarked term in the text of ads — a policy that far exceeds the requirements of trademark law. Lindenauer says that MoveOn.org withdrew from that policy on Friday after it heard about the brewing controversy over Google’s termination of Collins’ text ads using the group’s name.
“When we became aware of all the controversy around it, we opted out,” Lindenauer says. “Of course we support free speech, and the right of anyone to parody us, but what we do care about is protecting our members — we don’t want anyone using our name or logo in a way that could harm our members and mission.”
Do not forget, however, that the MoveOn thugs have stood by their bullying of Cafe Press shop owners who mocked the left-wing group on t-shirts and mugs defending Gen. David Petraeus.
So much for their support of free speech.
The Examiner, where Robert Cox blew the whistle on the Google ad fiasco, wonders:
Where are the big guns of the left side of the blogosphere? Perhaps we missed it, but we can find nothing about this controversy on Daily Kos, Eschaton or Talking Points Memo.
One has to wonder whether they aren’t upset because it’s a moderate Republican targeted by the Netroots for defeat who is being suppressed. Or perhaps there is fear of angering the Internet giant. As for the righties, how long will it be before they realize protecting freedom of speech must always be a top priority for them because many of their opponents have little hesitation about using any means necessary to silence them?