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Washington University coal research group fights parody website

By Matt Sepic, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – A group at Washington University that does research for the coal and power industries is demanding a St. Louis environmentalist remove its logo from a parody website.

Brian DeSmet claims the term "clean coal" is marketing propaganda and has no place in an academic institution. DeSmet copied the logo from Washington University's Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization website
and put it on his own site, which he insists is a clear parody. DeSmet said he has no plans to remove the logo.

"I feel like I have every right to use that logo in this way," DeSmet said. "Under fair use law through copyright, there's exemptions for uses like this."

But Paul Fleischut, an attorney for consortium member Peabody Energy, said the parody is not immediately obvious.

"Peabody felt that it had to take some action," Fleischut said. "We felt the risk of the identity theft here outweighed the risk of negative publicity."

Fleischut said he is not taking issue with the parody site's message, only the use of the clean coal consortium's logo.


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