This is a reminder that beyond economics, there’s a substantial freedom issue involved in these intellectual property cases. It’s conceivable that if Steele were to try to litigate this that he’d ultimately prevail on first amendment grounds. But in practice that would be very expensive, so any firm large enough to have lawyers on retainer has a lot of latitude to intimidate people with cease-and-desist letters (via Freedom and Intellectual Property)
- And yet this kind of thing never seems to make it into things like an Index of Economic Freedom or get denounced as a form of tyranny. But by even the narrowest negative liberty conception of freedom, a law saying that you can’t print a T-shirt with a “BARVES” logo on it is a substantial restriction of liberty.