One Surrey, B.C. entrepreneur has been told to stop selling T-shirts and hoodies that feature a "bastardized" version of the city's trademarked logo.
Don Pitcairn, owner of SurreyShirts.com, sells a clothing design that features a handgun printed with "Surrey, the future dies here," a spoof of the city's "The future lives here" slogan.
Pitcairn argues his take on the city's logo is fair, political satire of Surrey's crime record.
The designs are intended to highlight the region's re-branding efforts to move away from its infamous reputation, Pitcairn told The Huffington Post B.C. He wants to "get people talking" to motivate the city to get tough on gangs and criminal violence.
One design has six bullet holes to the chest and "Better Safe than Surrey," whcih refers to the Surrey six, one of the province's bloodiest gang shootings.
"The shirts are supposed to be edgy. It's Surrey. We love Surrey," said Pitcairn. "We're not going to turn our backs on the darker side."
But at least one member at city hall isn't impressed by the shirts.
According to Business In Vancouver, assistant city solicitor Philip Huynh sent Pitcairn a cease-and-desist letter via email on Jan. 31 to stop producing his shirts.
However, the Jan. 31 letter was addressed to Jason Arsenault of SurreyClothing.com, an online store that sold a similar line of clothing. The letter was not addressed to Pitcairn.
"Until the City of Surrey has a handgun as a logo, we're going to continue," Pitcairn said.
And city solicitor Craig MacFarlane agrees to an extent.
"We don't care about the content, it's free speech. But it's the same with any brand," said MacFarlane to Metro News. "You don't want people defacing your logo."
In 2012, Canada's revised its copyright act to protect the use of parody or satire against infringement. It's unclear if the act's fair dealing protection measures extend to cases of commercial distribution and financial gain.
Surrey's current slogan and design was re-branded five years ago to replace its former "City of Parks" label.
Check out SurreyShirt.com's controversial clothing line:
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