By Sam Foster
Yesterday, Congressman John Hall's former band, Orlean's, notified Michael Knowles, leader of Republican challenger Nan Hayworht's Young Voters for an Orlean's Reunion Tour that they intended to sue the group for trademark infringement and a whole list of cyber-lingo-sounding-torts like "cybersquatting."
I shot Michael Knowles and email to get his side of the story.
Sam Foster: Will you be complying with Orlean's demands to remove the site and turn over records?
Michael Knowles: These are some pretty desperate campaign tactics, though it unfortunately appears to be par for the course. The Young Voters for Nan Hayworth will not be intimidated by Congressman John Hall, campaign manager Patrick McGarrity, or any band member of Orleans. The First Amendment still applies to every citizen of the United States, even if they disagree with Congressman Hall.
Sam Foster: Orleans claims that your site is a subterfuge meant to disinform their fans, is that accurate?
Michael Knowles: The header of our website reads, "Get John Hall onstage and out of Congress." If Congressman Hall or his band mates think that is deceitful, I don't know how to convince them otherwise. I began to receive personal threats from Larry Hoppen even after I allowed him to place his own promotional material on our website, so I'm not sure that disinformation is really the reason for which the Young Voters for Nan Hayworth are being sued by John Hall's band mates. It just seems a little too political for me--no one in their right mind could possibly be deceived by our website.
Sam Foster: As you've previously told me, you are an Orleans fan. Does the possible lawsuit change your opinion of the group?
Michael Knowles: Well, it is unfortunate that the band I love has decided to sue me. However, this lawsuit does not change the beautiful lyrics of Sails, the upbeat rhythms of Still The One, or the heart-wrenching sentiment of Dance With Me. I am and will remain a loyal fan of Orleans. Of course, I'd be a much bigger fan if they'd again include Congressman Hall in their lineup.
Sam Foster: If your site in fact, supports the band. In what ways have you promoted the group over the last month of operation?
Michael Knowles: Our website provides several links to Orleans' official site and their Wikipedia entry, and our Blogroll links to their Twitter feed. When Larry Hoppen demanded that I post certain pictures and videos on the website, I complied within hours. We've linked to their news, events, and music. I really don't think there is anything more we could do to promote the group.
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