On the eve of last New Year’s Eve I blogged about the plight of Champagne Jayne, the Australian wine blogger who has been sued by the Champagne region’s trade association (CIVC) because she sometimes praises sparkling wine not made in Champagne. If the CIVC prevails it will put Champagne Jayne out of business and take away her only source of income. Talks to reach a settlement through mediation have failed and so the case is back in an Australian court. The case is logically absurd. Champagne Jayne is a person, not a bottle of wine, so consumers are not confused by her use of the name and the region of Champagne suffers no loss because of it. They are simply being bullies.
And so I will continue to refuse to drink Champagne.
The Wine Curmudgeon articulates the reason why all of us should care about this case:
And if the CIVC gets away with this, and it seems like it will, then it sets a precedent for any business that doesn’t approve of what someone writes, wine or otherwise. Don’t like what I say about your wine? Then sue, claiming I used your brand name incorrectly. Don’t like what the New York Times’ Mark Bittman says about your fast food? Then sue, claiming Bittman infringed on your intellectual property.
This is just another example of predatory corporations using their control of legal systems to crush people with few resources—just because they can.
Champagne Jayne is forbidden by the court to talk to the media—how convenient for the vultures. Her supporters have started a fundraising campaign the help with her defense.
The campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/jaynevgoliath