In an email to the other members of the Libertarian National Committee, Alicia Mattson, the Secretary of the Party, sent the following:
Oliver Hall's attention is requested for this email: LP Bylaws, Article 5.1, "No person, group or organization may use the name "Libertarian Party" or any confusingly similar designation except the Party or an organization to which the Party grants affiliate party status or as otherwise provided in these bylaws." This provides a very narrow scope for use of our party name. Yet one only has to search on Facebook for the name "Libertarian Party", and you will find many groups that are not the national party, and are not an affiliate of the national party, but they use our party name to increase their profile in search results, build their own following, and use the group for their own purposes. One such example can be found here: (fair warning - this page contains varying degrees of nudity) https://www.facebook.com/groups/233590827023815/ We also have a trademark on the name "Libertarian Party". My understanding of intellectual property law is that we need to actively defend our right to the name or else over time we diminish our ability to successfully defend it. Our bylaws don't mention the logo, but am I correct to presume that we have also staked out a legal claim to our past and present logos? I also see other groups (not our affiliates) using our logo in their memes, incorporated into their own logos, etc. Some of these could potentially be rectified by merely asking the groups to cease using our name and/or logo. Others might need to receive cease-and-desist letters from our attorney. I'd like to discuss this at our upcoming LNC meeting. Perhaps it makes sense to just make it part of the Special Counsel agenda item, since we'll likely want to chat with Mr. Hall about it. -Alicia
In response, Craig Bowden, a member of the Libertarian Party of Utah, wrote a scathing rebuttal to the members.
To the members of the LNC:
I am writing today to express my opposition to the suggestion that the LNC begin sending cease and desist orders for use of the Libertarian Party or logo for groups not officially recognized by the LNC.
The precedent that would be set would have consequences far reaching and would drive members away from association with the party. This would include me, as I have worked hard establishing a county affiliate, a member of a caucus, and as a candidate seeking the Libertarian nomination, all three of which would qualify me or my association to have legal action set against us.
1. Candidates are not recognized by the Libertarian Party until after nomination. The bylaw and logo suggestion put forth by Secretary Alicia Mattson that is being cited [5.1] would prevent someone like me, running a highly effective campaign, from using the logo branding, name Libertarian Party, etc. until nominated about 6 months from the General Election.
This affects the branding image that is placed in voters’ minds, and to effectively run a statewide or federal race, the candidate and their team would require one year to 18 months before the General to be effective in their efforts.
2. Non-partisan candidates who are Libertarians would not be able to run with the LP branding, because they are non nominated by parties. Some state laws actually don’t allow for candidates to seek a party nomination for some races. However, my using things like the Eagle Torch, it fortifies a positive image of the Libertarian Party as people start to affiliate that image with one of action and good ideas.
3. County affiliates are not mentioned in the Bylaws, only states. This means that affiliates, like the one I chair, would fall subject to this enforcement action. This measure would centralize power and put the hard work of our volunteers as a waste.
For the last two years I have Chaired the Libertarian Party of Weber County. We have done numerous outreach events and expanded dues paying members to the party at the state and national levels. We have advocated on behalf of Libertarian candidates, in many cases, paying for booth fees at events and inviting them to table with us to ensure they get exposure in the public
We are also recognized as one of the biggest pushing forces in a ballot initiative to have Medical cannabis on the ballot in 2018, including being a co-sponsor of a debate in Weber County for voters to hear the pros and cons. We help select the person to speak on the pro side, are putting some of our own funds forward to assist in it being aired, and are helping with the advertising.
Having the catch all of not being recognized by you, puts us at risk with all our efforts. Grassroots is the name of the game in politics to motivate a dedicated base. As long as I am Chair, I will never ask permission from anyone to advocate for liberty.
4. All a caucus is, is a group of members (members of the Libertarian Party), who advocate issues that are acceptable by the the Statement of Principles. The example given by Alicia Mattson as one that must be shut down is the Libertarian Party Nudist Caucus. So I ask you: who was harmed? If they advocate that people not be incarcerated for being nude, or “freeing the nipple” for women, where is the crime?
While I am not personally a member of this specific caucus, they are a specific issue focus group in the Libertarian Party. As they are members, and there is no violation of the Statement of Principles, there is no cause to go after them other than the fact that the Secretary finds this specific group distasteful.
I would rather explain to voters why it is important for the most extreme to exist than have a group silenced, censured, or sued.
5. How can the Libertarian Party simultaneously advocate against groups like Big Pharma in the use of the IP while going after their own membership for IP? Ask yourselves that before you vote. If you support the measure of Secretary Mattson, you are a hypocrite and will be called out for it.
Remember that each one of you were elected by the body of the Libertarian Party delegates, myself included. If you are going to take the authoritarian route, you will be fought and a group inclined to advocating liberty is going to defeat any one who pushes against us. We seek a world free in our lifetime, not a world where we cannot advocate for like-minded ideas using branding that is readily available for download. This helps the LP, it does not harm it.
2016 National Delegate
Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Weber County
Candidate for US Senate
PROUD member of the Radical Caucus