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GOP wants local couple’s web site shut down

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

You made your point, now stop or we will take you to court: That’s the message the Republican Party has for a pair of local web designers.

Don and Joyce Weaver have posted pictures of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill at www.gop2012tampa.com, a domain name they purchased the same day Tampa won the 2012 GOP convention.

The choice was no coincidence.

“It’s a site that we figured people would go to because of the address,” Joyce Weaver told FOX 13 two weeks ago. “If there’s a little bit of shock and awe for a few seconds, and it holds them there, then the job is done.”

After receiving thousands of visitors to the site, Weaver and her husband now say they have received a letter from Republican Party lawyers “demanding us to cease and desist from using the letters GOP.”

As of Thursday morning, the web address was still active, directing users to a letter from the Weavers that outlines both the GOP’s concerns and the designers’ response. The oil spill pictures are still visible via a link from the home page.

It is clear the Weavers feel they are in the right.

“Legal precedence shows that while GOP is trademarked, any attachment you add is not,” they wrote. “So, adding words or numbers changes things up regarding the trademark issue.”

A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee in Washington confirmed on Thursday morning that its attorneys issued a cease and desist letter. The party declined to comment further. Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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