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Georgia-Pacific Owner Sues After Climate Prank

A non-profit law firm has filed a dismissal motion after an industrial giant sued pranksters who lampooned the company’s stance on global warming.

Last month, anonymous individuals posted a press release purportedly from the private, multinational firm Koch Industries. The company and its principal owners, brothers David and Charles Koch, have long been vocal about their support for conservative causes.

The announcement, which bore the Koch logo and was hosted at a site that looked like Koch’s, with a similar domain name to Koch’s, said the company would cut off its financing to Tea Party and conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Fraser Institute. The activities of those groups, the hoax release said, “could jeopardize America’s continued global competitiveness in the energy and chemical sectors and Koch Industries’ ability to provide high-quality products and services to the American people.”

Koch hit back with a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement, cybersquatting and unfair competition.

But on Wednesday, Public Citizen filed a motion to have Koch’s lawsuit dismissed. The firm says the spoof was carried out by members of a group called “Youth for Climate Truth”, and says the First Amendment protects their anonymous, political speech.

Koch’s numerous business interests include minerals, oil refining, oil pipelines, chemicals, Lycra fiber, pollution control equipment, ranching and commodities trading. Its $21 billion acquisition of paper company Georgia-Pacific – maker of Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny and Dixie products – was the largest purchase of a public company by a private firm in U.S. history, Koch says.

The Public Citizen motion says that lawyers for Koch have issued subpoenas to two Utah-based internet companies, Bluehost and FastDomain, in an attempt to discover the pranksters’ identities.

A statement on Koch’s website says, “Koch Industries, Inc. is a firm believer in our nation’s First Amendment and the right to free speech. This lawsuit was filed in response to a willful act of identity theft, theft of intellectual property, and impersonation that extends beyond the boundaries of free speech.

“It was a publicity and fund raising stunt perpetrated with the intent to deceive and confuse the public, and disrupt and harm Koch Industries’ business and reputation.”

Other non-profits are also targeting Koch. This weekend Common Cause activists plan to protest a conference being held by the Koch brothers, which Politico says will include 200 businessmen, Republican politicians and conversative activitists.

Last year a Greenpeace report claimed that Koch Industries channeled nearly $50 million into efforts aimed at discrediting climate change science as well as groups opposed to clean energy policies.

In response to that report, Koch said in a statement: “The Greenpeace report mischaracterizes these efforts and distorts the environmental record of our companies. Koch companies have long supported science-based inquiry and dialogue about climate change and proposed responses to it.”

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8 thoughts on “Georgia-Pacific Owner Sues After Climate Prank

  1. The Koch brothers have the education and the intelligence to know the truth. Hopefuly they will spend their money revealing the facts regarding the earth and humans so that we all can act from understanding.

  2. What kind of a warped mind labels the intentional malicious misrepresentation of a corporation and individuals as a “prankster?”

    If the actual truth is not in line with what you are saying, it is a lie and Koch should nail their asses to the wall.

    This opinion story is not about Koch. It is about the total disregard of others rights and property. Just because someone is purposely misled into thinking that because it is for the environment, all laws should be taken off the table, does not mean it is legal.

    These “pranksters” need to be hit hard and so should anyone enabling them financially.

  3. It’s clear this was a prank. Anyone who knows anything about the Koch Companies, their political involvements, and the environmental record can tell this was a prank. If it was done on Saturday Night Live, no one would care.

    Let the kids go. Koch was not hurt by this at all, even if the press release might have raised the blood pressure of the management team at AFP because they were concerned for a couple of minutes they might have to get real jobs.

  4. Litigious Bullys.

    And Scott when the Koch gang and their minions lie about public officials that’s ok because under Times v. Sullivan no one can prove “actual malice”. As we would say in the school yard: they ‘can dish it out but they can’t take it’.

  5. What kind of a warped corporation labels peer-reviewed, overwhelmingly-acknowledged climate change science as a fraud?

    “If the actual truth is not in line with what you are saying, it is a lie” and we should collectively nail the Koch brother’s asses to the wall.

  6. Looking at the next article in this issue — “Coca-Cola, Kraft and Procter & Gamble are among the latest companies to join voluntary U.K. pledges to reduce packaging …” Major US companies are getting the message and getting the benefits of being sustainable.

    What does Koch do overseas, where regulation are getting stronger? Is their behavior different from that in the patsy USA? Could it be that Koch’s big bucks denier campaign in the US is targeted at staving off regulations that are going forward in the rest of the world? Is it their claimed right to do what they want, regardless of societal effects in the US, where they probably claim to be good citizens? Could this lawsuit be just more advertising?

    BTW, what does Koch NOT make, so I can buy that?

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