2 Crony Capitalist Industries Go at One Another in Court, The Victim in the End May be Free Speech

So the battle is between corn syrup makers and cane sugar refiners. The corn syrup folks say that their product is not unique in contributing to obesity. “It’s just sugar.” They say.

The cane sugar people down Louisiana and Mississippi way, say that this is misleading and so they are taking the corn syrup people to court.  The attack however is being levied using a World War II era regulation which may significantly limit speech.

Live by the subsidy, die by the regulation.

(From the Independent Institute)

Not satisfied with the benefits they get from Congress, sugar companies are now turning to the courts for additional assistance. Pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is a lawsuit targeting producers of corn syrup for their “Sweet Surprise” advertising campaign.

In this ad campaign, the corn industry—no stranger itself to government subsidies—trumpets its product as a safe and natural sweetener. The advertisements further aver that corn syrup has no unique responsibility for the current America obesity ‘epidemic.’ Indeed, the ads say, Americans have no reason to fear products containing corn syrup (or “corn sugar,” as the industry often calls it) any more than they should fear products made with cane sugar. “Sugar is sugar,” the ads say.

The sugar industry’s lawsuit is primarily based on Section 43 of the 1946 Lanham Act. The Lanham Act is typically associated with intellectual property rights, such as copyright or trademark protection. It also contains provisions prohibiting false or misleading advertising.

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