Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't Mess With Texas...

OR a Texas author for that matter!!!
Recently, an author I have had the pleasure of being associated with through my local RWA chapter in Houston Texas, has been under fire from the Texas Department of Transportation.
While I've been supportive of the author, Christie Craig,  and her book, aptly titled, Don't Mess With Texas, I have been appalled by the barrage of attacks she and her book have been inundated with as of late.
The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDot for short, filed a lawsuit against Ms. Craig, her publisher and well, just about anyone within spitting distance of the romance novel, stating that titling the book with the same words as the trademark logo for TxDot, made the state of Texas "look bad" and was against the law or some legal mumbo-jumbo most of us just don't understand. (It's not the legality of the situation I don't understand, but the entire lawsuit, really)
TxDot has even gone so far as to label the romance novel, PORN!
All of that is beside the point and should have been mute, especially after a judge in Austin ruled on the case last month stating that the author nor the publisher had infringed upon any trademark rights because "book titles" do not fall under the same laws and regulations pertaining to trademarks and even said, to paraphrase, "she could mess with Texas all she wants." 
Well apparently TxDot didn't like the ruling, have rounded up their posse and has continued gunning for Christie Craig and her infamous gang!

I, on the other hand, have been reading the blogs and listening to the "behind the scenes" conversations and have a few things to say regarding this entire ordeal, and for those of you who regularly follow my blog, you know I rarely put in my two cents worth...until NOW!

Listen, this book is ROMANCE, not porn, and trust me, I know porn when I see it.
After weeks of this back and forth arguing and poking sticks at what should have already been a dead horse, TxDot has dug in their spurs and triggered a whirlwind of controversy over nada...(that's Texan for nothing.)
If you do a little research and compare apples to oranges...(which FYI, if combined, is a tasty treat) then you will see the difference between how the this "trademark" has been used elsewhere and in much more provocative and in some instances, insulting ways. Below, I offer some examples of what I found when I "googled", which I am quite good at....

This was found by a fellow author, sold by TxDot, blatently displaying the "Don't Mess with Texas" logo and since my blog is for the adults, if you look closely you may find the bulge at the bottom very interesting.
These thongs would really get in my crawl...pun intended!

Moving right along...
I found this associated with a website...ahem....well let's just say that I cannot elaborate and at this point am pleading the fifth amendment. Just more proof the lengths I will go to show how absurd this lawsuit is against Ms. Craig.

Not to be outdone by real "Porn", we should add a little something straight from the desk of Texas Governor, Rick know, that guy who's running for President in 2012...
Excuse me, Governor Perry, Have you and Newsweek been included in the lawsuit filed by TxDot? Or are political adds excluded from "Trademark Infringement" when the candidate has such good hair and a dashing smile?

Yeah, I'm having a little fun with this, but only because this next "Don't mess with Texas" poster actually brought tears to my eyes.

 TxDot, did you sue these people?
I don't know where you were on 9/11, but I was right HERE....DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS, when our nation was attacked ten years ago and whoever used MY states logo for this poster has definitely OFFENDED  this Texan!!

Christie Craig is an author of outstanding character and morality. She wrote a romance novel filled with humor and romance and most of all, love.
When this Texas born citizen sees the cover of that book, I am PROUD and in no way offended.
In fact, I would much rather see a romance novel with "Don't Mess With Texas" scrawled across the front, than any of these other logo affiliated items.
If you would like to weigh in, feel free to leave a comment, better yet, if you're just as outraged as I am concerning this "witch hunt", send a "Don't Mess With Texas" postcard (or if out of state, any postcard will do) to the Texas State Capitol in Austin or TxDot  and let them know how you feel about it. They keep records of complaints and with any luck and a good measure of common sense, the powers that be will get the message.

Find TxDot on Facebook:


as per their website,
Send letters to:
Texas Department of Transportation
125 East 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701
Please include:

  • your name and mailing address (telephone number/e-mail optional),
  • a description of your comment or concern, including any background information or underlying facts, and
  • the specific action or measure you are requesting of us.

Mailing Address

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428


  1. Great summation of what's been happening with Ms. Craig. It's shameful that they've decided to chase after her when there are so many blatant misuses of the exact same slogan.
    I'm appalled that my tax dollars are funding this harassment!

  2. Thanks for your words, Robin. Censorship by any other name is still censorship.

  3. Good job, Robin. Rest assured I'll be sending my 2 cents in.


  4. Wow! I hadn't heard anything of this. Of course, I'm a newbie in the writing community, but I do live I didn't realize my NEW homestate (no, I'm not a native and after seeing this I can only say TG) was so into censorship.

    Thanks for posting,
    Concilium, available July 2012
    twitter: michelle_kp

  5. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.
    I wonder how much of this has to do with censorship and how much has to do with MONEY, especially since I seem to recall the mention of damages and/or compensation...I think.
    I didn't include that in my blog post, because the ridiculousness of the whole situation in the first place was more than enough to talk about.
    Texas is a wonderful state and I hope readers aren't under the assumption I'm upset or complaining about my home.
    Quite the contrary, I'm a proud Texan who loves every inch of the Lone Star State, which is why I'm speaking out against what TxDot is doing.
    I want others to love it, our citizens and everything Texas has to offer!!

  6. I wish I could say I hadn't seen them do things this stupid before, but I have. Maybe they should try reading the same COPYRIGHT code that the judge did, which clearly protects her use for the title as popular culture and non-copyrightable title matter. Even IF this was actionable, it wouldn't be for trademark infringement, because that would depend on a product in the same market (NOT) and causing confusion (NOT). It would be for "damaging association," which doesn't fly for me...or the judge anyway. As you pointed out, the other uses are a heck of a lot more "damaging" than a romance novel. Someone has a stick inserted in the posterior...or maybe a head. Keep up the good fight!

  7. Apparently TxDOT has nothing better to do and doesn't know the meaning of porn. Although I am an author, I am also a reader and fan of Christie's books. Porn? Oh please, not even close.