Bill the Bully and Virtual Member Attachment.

I Find Karma (
Sun, 22 Feb 98 19:42:01 PST

[found on GeeK]

> Steve agreed to take the ["Borg Bill Gates"] T-shirts off the market.

Bill Gates has got no case. Parody of public figures is protected under
the first amendment. Steve Boswell should release the design to the

> It's a plastic and rubber "peripheral" device that fits onto a man's,
> ahem, you-know-what. Attached is a cord that plugs into a PC's
> parallel port.

No wonder the White House is pro-Internet. Once he gets his hands on
one of these, Clinton will no longer need interns...


Once upon a time there was a San Diego programmer named Steve Boswell
who decided to poke a little fun at the wealthiest man on the planet,
and make himself a buck in the process. Steve printed up T-shirts that
portray Bill as a Borg -- you know, one of those half-machine,
half-humanoid Star Trek invaders who takes over everything it
sees. (Sound familiar?) The shirt reads: "Resistance is Futile, You Will
Be Assimilated."

Well, people just loved Steve's shirts. He sold several thousand in no
time, and everything was peachy until his phone rang one day last
summer. It was one of Bill's high-priced attorneys calling to say that
his boss wanted Steve to stop selling those shirts immediately.

"I really thought it was a joke at first," says Steve, 26, who writes
code for a small tech company. Well, it was no joke.

Seattle attorney Bill Ferron huffed and he puffed and by the time he
threatened to take Steve to court, Steve agreed to take the T-shirts off
the market.

So what if three media-law experts say Steve would've won in court
because parodies of famous people are legal. The legal fees would've
cost a bundle. "I'm just Boswell a working stiff trying to scrape by,"
shrugs the one-time T-shirt entrepreneur, "I don't have the money to
fight this kind of thing."

Bill argued that his billionaire image was used without approval. That
the T-shirts gave the impression that he endorsed the Borg image of
himself. A Microsoft spokesman echoed that sentiment. The matter, he
says, is closed.

Well, not quite. Since his run-in with the empire last summer, Steve has
been silent. Still, his anger grows. He's angry that a billionaire's
legion of lawyers stifled him. He's looking for a sympathetic lawyer
who will take his case for free.

Then again, maybe resistance is futile.

in unrelated news:

There's a little company in Columbia, Pa., that will soon unveil a
"revolutionary" tool. It's a plastic and rubber "peripheral" device that
fits onto a man's, ahem, you-know-what. Attached is a cord that plugs
into a PC's parallel port.

At porn Web sites, a person can work another tool that relays "feeling"
through the Net to the guy wearing the device. Could this be the world's
first REAL virtual sex machine?

Eric White, president of White International, said they've completed the
prototype and will soon begin production. He wouldn't, however, disclose
the name of the apparatus for fear the domain name would be stolen.

After preliminary tests, White says it works like a charm. Only problem
is, as with everything else with the Web, there's a slight lag time.

White says the company considered building a similar device for women,
but market research showed there wasn't enough demand.


"What's a philodex?" he asked, perplexed.