Judge: Pennsylvania can’t block ‘I Choose Hell’ corporate name

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Filmmaker George Kalman can now Choose Hell, and make it official.

In 2007, the independent video producer and director wanted to give his fledging business a corporate identity with a touch of personal philosophy, and so he filed paperwork to register the name “I Choose Hell Productions L.L.C.” No offense was intended to anyone, Kalman says. It’s an antisuicide message, he explained, as in hell on Earth is better than the alternative.

But Kalman ran afoul of a 1977 Pennsylvania law that bans “blasphemy” in corporate names. Of course, as world history has long proved, one person’s religious insult is another person’s statement of personal belief. And vice versa. Offended at the state’s apparent arbitrariness, Kalman recruited the ACLU.

Cut to three years later, and U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson releases a 67-page opinion declaring the law unconstitutional.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 2, 2010