Clinton super-PAC backs down from ‘Ready for Oligarchy’ fight

The super-PAC supporting Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 backed down from a fight over a line of parody shirts, bumper stickers and mugs.

Ready for Hillary on Friday retracted a demand that two online shops take down a line of products that twisted the organization’s name into “I’m Ready for Oligarchy.”

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Dan McCall, the libertarian Minnesota activist behind the shirts, received support in his fight from consumer interest group Public Citizen.

After the super-PAC backed down on Friday, the group's attorney, Paul Levy said the case was a victory for free speech.

“Although it should never have gone this far in the first place, we are pleased that the Ready for Hillary PAC recognized Dan McCall’s free speech rights and rescinded its takedown demands,” he said in a statement. “This win shows that parody merchandise does not violate any federal laws, and we hope that online merchants recognize this in the future before immediately removing merchandise due to a takedown demand.”

Earlier this week, Public Citizen threatened to sue the pro-Clinton political group if it did not withdraw its demand that online merchants Zazzle and CafePress stop selling McCall’s merchandise. 

Ready for Hillary claimed that the images were a violation of its copyright licenses. According to Public Citizen, however, the products were merely instances of criticism and satire, which are protected by the constitutional right to free speech.

McCall, who sells a line of political products online, previously caused with a stir with merchandise mocking the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security with phrases like “Department of Homeland Stupidity.”