An expensive and complicated spoof of the New York Times has hit the streets of Manhattan (with accompanying website). The headlines offer something akin to a liberal wish-list, from the end of the PATRIOT Act, to the passing of a new law called the Safeguards for a New Economy (S.A.N.E.) bill. There are also clever adverts throughout the site. In one, De Beers Diamonds offers to donate an artificial limb to a person who lost theirs in one of Africa’s diamond conflicts with the purchase of any diamond.
I love complicated pranks, particularly mischievous yet harmless ones, so I am in awe of the scale of this one. I w0nder if the authors have crossed a line. I am not familiar with parody legislation, but it seems to be much stronger in the U.S. than it is here in the UK. I am however wondering at the domain name (www.nytimes-se.com), which seems to be too close to the real thing. Given the fact that there is no provision for parody in domain name registration procedures, it seems likely that if challenged the website could disappear (which would be a real pity). My guess however is that the New York Times will sit this one out, it does not really dilute the brand, and it is somehow flattering to be singled out for such a monumental spoof.