French T-shirt company relenting in face of Anonymous threats

Shadowy hacktivist group Anonymous last night issued a call to its members to attack an online T-shirt company based in France that had registered the Anonymous slogan and logo under French law. That small company, Early Flicker, now seems to be caving to demands from Anonymous.

"The Anonymous logo and slogan has been defined and registered through the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) in France," the hacktivist group said in a statement put out last night. "An online t-shirt company called "early Flicker" or "E-flicker" has registered the Anonymous slogan and logo and passed it off as their own. Now under French law the company owns the rights to the Anonymous logo and slogan."

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The French company Early Flicker includes the website www.pickapop that Anonymous suggests should be attacked. "The arrogance and ignorance of what they have done will not go un-punished," the message from Anonymous states. "Anonymous will take down any business that E-flicker has going on the Internet and we will not stop until the registration has been revoked and a public apology has been made. E-flicker, prepared to be boarded. The name of Anonymous will not be the whore of the world."

The French website's apparent owner, signing himself as Mr. Auffret, has posted his own statement in French. According to Google translation, Auffret offers a lengthy explanation of his business, saying it's a small company that can customize various objects such as T-shirts. But he stresses that the images he uses must be free from legal entanglements, to explain why it wanted to register the Anonymous logo and slogan.

"To be clear, there is absolutely no question of creating a 'brand' Anonymous," the statement from Auffret says. He adds: "But before the attacks of which I am a target I think it's also good to expose my own principles.

"I do not pose as staunch defender of the ideals of Anonymous," Auffret writes, but says he simply wants to freely sell his T-shirts with the Anonymous logo to those who support their ideas.

"To conclude, it is certainly not pleasant to me to see my website and my mailboxes stormed," he writes, and says it's painful to be ascribed dishonest objectives. He concludes that he's in contact with the "support committees of France Anonymous" and "at their request, I will do what they please in the interest of the movement." He suggests site activities would be resumed immediately following resolution of the dispute.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com.

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