Back in February, Patrick Wensink published a book, Broken Piano for President. It is a work of fiction that is also, clearly, a work of satire — a fact made clear not only by the work’s title, but also by the fact that it was published by the Lazy Fascist Press, that its Amazon description bills it as “the greatest political allegory since Animal Farm, written by the most fantastic-smelling author of our time,” and that customers who purchased it also bought such titles as The Emerald Burrito of Oz and A Town Called Suckhole.
Broken Piano for President may be an obvious joke, but it did one thing quite seriously: Its old-timey, straight-from-the-saloon cover art is pretty much a direct rip-off of the iconic label for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. Jack Daniel’s trademark lawyer, doing her job, realized this bit of infringement — and also realized that the infringement was perpetrated with love, or at least with jest. So she sent Wensink what may well go down as the most polite, encouraging, and empathetic cease-and-desist letter ever to be sent in the history of lawyers and humanity. That lawyer, Christy Susman, even offers to pay for Wensink to change his cover design! Or at least “to contribute a reasonable amount towards the costs of doing so”!
Would that all matters of IP dispute could be adjudicated with such missives.