June 29, 2007

Yesmen launch new 'Exxon' fuel, Exxon rolls out the legal heavies

The Yesmen, corporate pranksters (with a conscience) par excellence, have done it again with their unique and often hilarious brand of identity correction - this time nailing climate criminal numero uno ExxonMobil. They sneaked in to an oil industry conference to announce ExxonMobil plans to turn billions of climate-change victims into a brand-new fuel called Vivoleum.

Now the Yesmen have claimed some notable scalps in the past including announcing the closure of the WTO and Dow's clean up of Bhopal. But Exxon immediately rolled out scary sounding legal notices (also nothing new for the Yesmen) but often internet providers get very scared by expensive corporate lawyers writing nasty letters. Despite the fact that the right of parody is legally protected, their provider immediately took down their site. Here's the Yesmen's newsletter - if you're interested in free speech on the internet, or happen to be a friendly hosting service these great folks need your help! And their film is really good watch too.

Exxon Hacks the Yes Men
Yes Men badly need sysadmin, server co-location

One day after the Yes Men made a joke announcement that ExxonMobil plans to turn billions of climate-change victims into a brand-new fuel called Vivoleum, the Yes Men's upstream internet service provider shut down Vivoleum.com, the Yes Men's spoof website, and cut off the Yes Men's email service, in reaction to a complaint whose source they will not identify. The provider, Broadview Networks, also made the Yes Men remove all mention of Exxon from TheYesMen.org before they'd restore the Yes Men's email service.

The Yes Men assume the complainant was Exxon. "Since parody is protected under US law, Exxon must think that people seeing the site will think Vivoleum's a real Exxon product, not just a parody," said Yes Man Mike Bonanno. "Exxon's policies do already contribute to 150,000 climate-change related deaths each year," added Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum. "So maybe it really is credible. What a resource!"

After receiving the complaint June 15, Broadview added a "filter" that disabled the Vivoleum.com IP address (, and furthermore prevented email from being sent from the Yes Men's primary IP address ( Even after all Exxon logos were removed from both sites and a disclaimer was placed on Vivoleum.com on Tuesday, Broadview would still not remove the filter. (The disclaimer read: "Although Vivoleum is not a real ExxonMobil program, it might as well be.")

Broadview did restore both IPs on Wednesday, after the Vivoleum.com website was completely disabled and all mention of Exxon was removed from TheYesMen.org.

While this problem is temporarily resolved, the story is far from over. Meanwhile, though, two bigger problems loom, for which we're asking your help:


Broadview Networks provides internet connectivity to New York's Thing.net and the websites and servers it hosts, including the Yes Men's server. Thing.net has been a host for many years to numerous activist and artist websites and servers.

At the end of July, Thing.net will terminate its contract with Broadview and move its operations to Germany, where internet expression currently benefits from a friendlier legal climate than in the US, and where baseless threats by large corporations presumably have less weight with providers. At that time, the Yes Men and two other organizations with servers "co-located" at Thing.net will need a new home for those servers. Please write to us if you can offer such help or know of someone who can.


The Yes Men are desperately in need of a sysadmin. The position is unpaid at the moment, but it shouldn't take much time for someone who knows Debian Linux very well. It involves monitoring the server, keeping it up-to-date, making sure email is working correctly, etc. The person could also maintain the Yes Men's website (which will be updated next week), if she or he wants.

Thing.net also needs a sysadmin: someone living in New York who knows Linux well. The Thing.net position involves some money and the rewards of working for an organization that has consistently and at great personal risk supported groups like the Yes Men over the years.



That is insane! Exxon vs free speech all over again.

Well thats crazy. They put up their disclaimers and they still took down the website! I guess this proves the old theoy true- if you give bullys what they want than they just came back of more becouse they know they can get it.

Good luck and let us hope the free speech wins!

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