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An Update on the "Pigsteria" and the Mother's Milk Bank Fundraiser

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

UPDATE: It's over. Find out how it got resolved in Well Done, Pork.

Sow's it going, you might ask? (oh come, on you either laughed or rolled your eyes...)

(Just checking in? Catch up on my legal threat from the National Pork Board.)

It's been an interesting few days, to put it mildly. (Does one ever really expect to set the whole blog world buzzing about one's chest?) I hope to have a very full, very complete update for you very soon, but for right now I want to let the blog world (and what a big, vocal blog world it is) know that I have received an apology from Steve Murphy, the CEO of the National Pork Board and we are currently working toward a resolution. (which is good because BOY do I love me some hamloaf...for which I might humbly suggest the slogan "ain't nothin finer than a loaf of swiner!")

First I have to say a BIG thanks to Brian Moore of Brian J. Moore and Associates who has been acting as my legal counsel and Amy Hooker of Maven Communications who has been serving as a public relations advisor. If you ever need a public relations guru or a North Carolina lawyer, please keep these two wonderful people in mind!

I'd also like to thank everyone for the amazing outpouring of support and while I'd LOVE to link to everyone, the list has grown to several hundred links in just 72 hours and I can't possibly post them all, so I'll simply give you a round-up of some of the best, most informative and most creative posts. (If you don't see yours below, feel free to add it to the comments section...)

First, let's all sit back and chill for a minute and celebrate something happy.

The Lactivist store fundraiser for the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio is over. (I know, I need to put new graphics up because it's not January anymore, but cut me some slack folks...been a little busy here...) So how'd we do? Well...pretty darn good! $700 good! If I add in the 10% of sales for all the months since I last took down a donation, it brings us just shy of $1000. I like even numbers, so Greg and I will forego a pizza some night and knock it up to an even thousand. Fan-frickin'tastic! (Upset that you didn't get in on the shopping in time to help out? No worries, you can always send a donation of any amount via PayPal with the button below...I'll simply add it to the tab.)

Now, back to the stuff you're here for...some of my favorite posts about this whole brouhaha...

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land offers up: National Pork Board Goes After Breastfeeding Search Marketer and National Pork Board Says: Breastfeeding is a Viable Trademark Threat.

Six Degrees of Bacon writes National Pork Board + Lawyers = Boobs.

Kerflop cautions Hold on to your bacon ladies.

Shoemoney says Big Bully Pork Group Stomps on Breastfeeding Moms

The cucking stool sagely explains Lawyer Jennifer gets testy!

Thomas Claburn at Information Week points out National Pork board Stumbles Into Hornet's Nest of Bloggers

Matt Bailey at Site Logic Marketing declares National Pork Board Protects Their Images While I Have Beef for Dinner

Ian McAnerin muses on Copyright, Trademarks and Pork Milk

Richard Ball at Apogee Weblog states The National Pork Board Hamstrung by the Other White Milk

Kickass at Blogher says These porkers are unbelievable

Jason Lee Miller at WebPro News declares Search Marketers Declare War on Pork

Evil Green at Filthy Jack asks Will Someone Please Sue Me?

Roger at Blogging Baby says National Pork Board's Reputation Tarnished by Breastfeeding

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  1. Blogger Angela | 12:22 PM |  

    My article on the subject http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/139879/national_pork_board_threatens_mother.html has made the Top Rated list off and on through the night as people voted it up!

    I'm glad he sent you a formal appology!

    Angela <><

  2. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:22 PM |  

    Oh I am so glad they've apologised after their ham-fisted attempt at bullying you! And isn't it wonderful that you have raised so much money for your milk bank...
    I'll update my blog shortly to let everyone know the good news ;)

  3. Blogger Jeanette | 1:32 PM |  

    An apology-great news! Maybe now I *can* eat those pork chops in my freezer guilt-free lol.

  4. Blogger Unknown | 1:45 PM |  

    WOW! Hooraaaay!

    What a perfect time to say thank you and then graciously continue on! With all the momentum you have, you must have new and amazing contacts. Be heard beyond the scope of your lovely blogsphere! Set up a permanent fund, maybe?

  5. Blogger Amy Philo | 2:16 PM |  



    I wrote a couple of fun ones about this... glad to see the apology!



  6. Blogger Unknown | 2:31 PM |  

    My sister sent the Pork Board an email titled:

    "Pork - the other corporate bully"

    (Of course I sent one too but not quite as funny.)

    Thanks for choosing to stand your ground!

  7. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 3:04 PM |  

    To note, the $1000 raised happened before the pork thing, so they aren't really related...just thought I'd throw some good news out there.

  8. Blogger Elaine | 3:13 PM |  

    So ridiculous! I saw this on Blogging Baby and went ahead and posted it to Mama Says Om (http://www.mamasaysom.com/2007/02/standing_up_for_the_little_guy.php) as well as the Soccer Mom Vote (http://www.thesoccermomvote.com/the_soccer_mom_vote/2007/02/standing_up_for.html) and my own blog, Wannabe Hippie (http://www.wannabehippie.com/2007/02/the_other_white_milk.php).

    Let's spread the shame, people. This is just preposterous.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:15 PM |  

    Jennifer, I'm so glad things are getting resolved. Thanks for the linkage. I also respect you not deleting any of the dissenting comments on the original post.

  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:34 PM |  

    You should definitely be organising a pork boycott for a week ... you'd get great coverage I'm sure, could sell your "the other white milk" t-shirts for funds, raise awareness of breastmilk benefits ... I'd post to all the US sites I know.


  11. Blogger Louisa | 4:50 PM |  

    Hey, I'm local to the National Pork Board, so this hits "home" - so to speak. So proud to be an Iowan... (eye roll) I also posted some thoughts at http://storknotes.blogspot.com/2007/02/did-you-hear-one-about-pork-board-suing.html

  12. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:17 PM |  

    Your story resonates with all the other cases of ham-handed (pun intended) legal bullying. The whole "zero tolerance" thing must sound good when it's mentioned around the management table, but when practised in the real world it can lead to stupidity and bad press.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:19 PM |  

    OMG this was awesome! They really didn't know who they were messing with. Now I'm off to nurse my husband and the rest of the neighborhood adults wearing my Eat at mom's shirt.

    Oh crap, that isn't what you meant?

    That lawyer and the pork peeps must be mortified by now for making themselves look like total asses.

    Hats off to you!

  14. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:23 PM |  

    I did what I could, firing off an email to the PR rep you linked to in the original post. My email was as follows:

    I’m writing to congratulate your organization. I think any group of people assembled to promote something always does itself a great service when it tries to attack an individual person with a campaign to promote something wholesome.

    I mean, what other kind of light but sunshine could be cast on a group that would do that?

    I think your legal team’s miscalculations came when you went after one of the more influential people on the web.

    I understand that your legal team is defending what it deems to be an infringement of your turf, but Christ. Why not post an image of your legal team pounding in the heads of kittens while you’re hammering out the threats to this blogger?

    The world is a smaller place now, and big, porky organizations are going to be forced to face the reality that they can no longer squash individuals in anonymity and with impunity. Especially organizations who rely on grocery buying, breast feeding moms to keep their organizations solvent.

    You’ve stepped in it. Now you’re going to have to smell it.

    Good luck on damage control.

    Best regards,

    Robert Paulson
    Husband of a Breast-Feeding Mom

    I did get a reply from the CEO, though I have to think it was a cut-and-paste job.

    Anyway, glad to read things are going well.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:31 PM |  

    [...]I couldn’t help but make pun of the National Pork Board when I heard of Jennifer’s “Pigsteria” over at the Lactivist. In light of these recent events, I naturally had to go hog wild with this one.

    So, here we go again! Just another porcine corporation flexing their fat, uh muscles, at what they perceived to be an easy target. Too bad they didn’t know who they were piggin on.

    I am not sure exactly where I have been these last, what, two days? I must be stuck in the mud because the next thing I know Jennifer is being harassed by a bunch of swine for trying to raise money for the Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio. She was selling a t-shirt that said, among many other rockin’ slogans, “The Other White Milk”.[...]

    Read more . . . http://mybabyandmore.com/blog/?p=61

  16. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:50 AM |  

    That's awesome you got an apology!

    But I'm still not eating pork! Thank goodness for turkey bacon, turkey ham, and turkey sausage! I just hope the turkey people don't try to sue you, lol!

  17. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:51 PM |  

    LOL! I didn't just post it on BlogHer, Jen! I also blogged it on Kickass Web News and Views, had my partner in crime Bitchslap the guilty parties, and used it as an example of the Power of the Blogosphere on the WebProWorld Forum, as well as making some noise over at MyBlogLog!

    Now it's time to really set the political bloggers loose on why us taxpayers paid 60 million smakolas for a trademark that isn't worth that kinda dough to anyone but the people using it. Methinks this one smells of manure being spread around.

    I am happy you are working this out. And I'm sure that writing up the whole schmear in retrospective for Search Engine Guide will be a fun, entertaining, and educational read.

  18. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:03 PM |  

    I just came to this little fuss in the pig-sty. I read the pdf of the original letter from the lawyer named Jennifer, and fell over laughing at her use of "Esq." for esquire in her signature.
    Hey Jen, the use of "Esquire" is reserved exclusively for men according to Titles and Forms of Address published by A.C. Black of London UK, the original publishers of Who's Who's. And in the Chicago Manual of Style (15ed p.563)it is considered archaic usage in the US. So please give us a break on your legal pomposity, especially when hassling nursing moms.

  19. Blogger Ian McAnerin | 4:44 PM |  

    You know, I just realized that 2007 is the Chinese "Year of the Pig"

    I found that ironic ;)


  20. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:15 PM |  

    Best thing that every happened to you, darling! Congratulations. This story is going to end up in all sorts of seminars and training sessions on how to get in trouble on the internet when you send a nasty letter to a person who owns a blog.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:09 AM |  

    Yay! Breastfeeding-1
    Big Business-0
    I was getting ready to storm the NPB headquarters, Michael Moore style, nursing baby in one arm, and camcorder in the other. Maybe someone needs to start a fund for psychotherapy for the dysfunctional people out there with breast "issues". Maybe there is a new DSM category waiting to be discovered:something under "Histrionic Personality Disorder" Just a thought.

  22. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:16 AM |  

    I can't think of anything less sexually arousing to a postpartum mom/zombie (who may or may not have even showered in the last 24 hours) than trying to discretely latch on a screaming infant in a public place, especially while simultaneously tending to one or more other small children... I know many of us have been there.

  23. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:52 AM |  

    During the past few days I have been forgoing pork products... and honestly, I've discovered turkey bacon and turkey sausage taste way better than the pork kinds. And have you looked at the nutritional facts??? I can't believe how much better the turkey stuff is for you. I won't be eating pork bacon or sausage anymore either way. My hubby says it tastes way better too! I'm glad they apologized, but I think maybe they need to make a donation to the cause (just to show their sincerity). If nothing else, hey, we got some publicity right? =)

  24. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:31 AM |  

    LOL I just finished reading the cookie-cutter email that they sent (probably to everyone who had the word 'breast' in an email)... and since I'm still a little steamed... I shot off an email of my own right back, (although it is far from being cookie-cuttered).


    Well I'm sorry to say sir, but the following statement of yours:

    The Other White Meat® is a pork industry trademark whose value was built slowly and thoughtfully over 20 years, paid for by producer’s hard-earned dollars. Any infringement on that mark would substantially lessen its value and impact for US pork producers.

    is rather funny to me, my household, my family, my church members, and all others currently boycotting pork. There is nothing you could have possibly done to lessen value or impact pork producers MORE than what you have done by attacking the Lactivist.

    1. You DO NOT OWN the phrase: "the other white" You own the phrase "the other white meat" which by the way, is complete nonsense considering it is not a white meat, and should not be compared to chicken or turkey, which ARE white meats, since this may confuse consumers into thinking that pork is healthy in ANY way.

    2. You could not have offended a worse group of people. A non-for-profit? And on top of that a non-for-profit that supports breastfeeding? Who do you think buys groceries in 90% of households in the USA? Women. And what do most women do? They breastfeed. You are morons. Regardless of what you say about your 'supposed need to defend your trademark' (which I think is basically bull), I will never buy any pork products again. Ever.

    Hopefully pork producers around the country appreciate how well you've done defending, aka destroying, 'the pork industry trademark whose value was built slowly and thoughtfully over 20 years'. Maybe if you'd been a little more slow and thoughtful before you jumped with the lawsuit you wouldn't be in this mess right now.

    P.S. Turkey sausage and bacon (I've found) taste far better than pork bacon and sausage anyways. I'm spreading the word about it, and I've no doubt that since it's cheaper, healthier, and tastier, you will be able to kiss next year's profits good-bye.


    Seriously though, has anyone had the turkey version of ham, bacon, & sausage?? It is really really good.

  25. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:02 PM |  

    Its great that they sent you an apology. And that the milk bank has been able to get so many donations! That is great! I still dont like the pork board for the huge fiasco they started in the first place. But it was nice of them to apologize for being such jerks.

  26. Blogger Unknown | 2:30 PM |  

    Obviously that lawyer for the pork guys is incompetent and should be fired immmediately. Parody is a usage of a mark that pokes fun at the mark and does not confuse the public as to the source of the usage. In determining whether there is infringement the court balances the public interest in free expression against the public interest in avoiding consumer confusion. "A parody must convey two simultaneous--and contradictory messages; that it is the original, but also that it is not the original and is instead a parody. To the extent that it does only the former but not the latter, it is not only a poor parody but also vulnerable under trademark law, since the consumer will be confused." From Cliffs NOtes, Inc. v. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 886 F. 2d 490 (2d Cir. 1989)

  27. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:53 AM |  

    Thanks for the nice post!

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