USPS Gets Attack of Clue

OK, it’s well-known that I’m not a fan of the (indirectly) government-subsidized U.S. Postal Service, but they warmed the cockles of my libertarian heart this week.

Apparently an indie/electronica band used the name Postal Service, and the usual protection-money types (lawyers) sent the usual unthinking trademark infringement notice. Then, things got weird:

[T]his week the United States Postal Service – the real one, as in stamps and letters – signed an agreement with Sub Pop granting a free license to use the name in exchange for working to promote using the mail. Future copies of the album and the group’s follow-up work will have a notice about the trademark, while the federal Postal Service will sell the band’s CDs on its Web site, potentially earning a profit. The band may do some television commercials for the post office.

I just have to ask. Has someone at the USPS been reading the Cluetrain Manifesto? Have the last remaining pro-free-market Republicans somehow been shuffled off to administrative jobs there, much like out-of-favor Communists were sent by Stalin to “count trees” in Siberia? Did Joan Baez quit her blackface routine long enough to spike the tea there, trying to one-up Grace Slick?

Whatever it is, it’s working. Although Postal Service (the band) still has an uphill battle with convincing me to use snail mail for anything other than, say, a cheap way to send books around. But seriously, guys, keep it up. With this attitude you will survive when Congress removes your monopoly.