Jack Daniel’s is actually notable, corporately speaking, for their sense of humor. You do have to have one when you’re a distillery located in a dry county. Lawyers for huge corporations, on the other hand, are not usually noted for their sense of humor.
So it’s nice to see that Jack Daniel’s takes a reasonable and fairly laid-back approach to enforcing its copyrights, like it did recently when author Patrick Wensink’s publisher used a variation of JD’s label on the cover of his new book — “a comic masterpiece about the fast food industry, booze, and the necessity to choose happiness over work and security.”
In order to resolve this matter, since you’re a Louisville “neighbor” and a fan of the brand, we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is reprinted. If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that (including on the digital version), we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount towards the costs of doing so.
The entire letter is worth reading for both the stationery and its courteous, reasonable tone.
It’s also a marketing stroke of genius. Whenever somebody sends a nasty, humorless cease-and-desist letter it tends to go viral, something most of the legal world seems completely unaware of or apathetic about. So Jack Daniel’s harnessed that, went the opposite direction, and got some good publicity as well as boosting the small press novel it was approaching about the problem.
So, JD, whatever you’re paying Christy Susman for protecting your trademark, consider upping it a bit.
(Image courtesy Lazy Fascist Press)