Evidently comic book publisher 2000 AD thought it would be a good idea to tell the world they don’t believe in the First Amendment, free speech, or parody. At least the person operating their official Twitter account thought it would be.
Comic book writer Christopher Sebela has a nice side hustle going on making custom Judge Dredd-like badges for people. I believe a 3-D printer is involved.
Christopher tweeted a message on September 25 stating he was taking orders for custom badges and they could be picked up at New York Comic Con.
Then on September 30, the official Twitter account of 2000 AD tweeted a response warning Christopher that they take unauthorized use of their copyrighted characters “very seriously.”
Here’s the tweet:
I “very seriously” think the person in charge of the 2000 AD official Twitter account was being a jerk face. It was inappropriate to drop that comment in Christopher’s public Twitter feed. If someone from 2000 AD’s legal department wanted to contact Christopher, all they had to do was act like a civilized adult and click on his Twitter profile, then click on his personal website, and then click on the link that says “Contact.”
They could then explain to him why the First Amendment does not apply to Christopher’s personalized badges even though they are clearly parody.
I highly doubt an actual lawyer would do that because they would know the badges are protected under the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects parody. Unless of course, they think their copyrighted character, Judge Dredd, wears a badge that says, “QUEER.” If they thought that, they would be wrong. Their character wears a badge that says, “DREDD.”
That’s why no sane person could look at these badges and think they were counterfeit or knockoffs. They’re not.
Does 2000 AD have a problem with gay people?
Was the response to Christopher’s tweet motivated by some sort of anti-gay agenda on behalf of 2000 AD? The most prominent badge in the photo was one expressing LGBT pride. Plus, Christopher is gay.
I don’t think so. I think the person controlling the Twitter account that day for 2000 AD was just stupid, not hateful or bigoted.
I think this issue was caused by an overzealous intern working for 2000 AD. For all we know, they were assigned to work the official Twitter account because they proved terrible at getting coffee orders correctly. I highly doubt AD 2000 does not believe in free speech. If memory serves, they’ve been supporters of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). It’s hard not to support free speech and support the CBLDF.
I hope Christopher Sebela goes back to selling these badges. There are people on Etsy who sell custom Judge Dredd-like badges, but I’d like to give him my business. I also hope 2000 AD assigns someone else to operate their official Twitter account. If not, it’s not like this would be the first time a comic book publisher did something stupid.