Posts Tagged ‘parody’

Parody, nastygrams, and Star Wars’ George Lucas

If only we could all resolve threatening letters from lawyers as neatly as the editors at MAD magazine were once able to do:

The book [MAD About Star Wars] is liberally sprinkled with sidebar anecdotes telling stories of MAD and Lucas’s relationship to each other (for example, the Lucasfilm legal department sent a threatening letter to MAD about one of their parodies; the same parody generated a personal fan-letter from George Lucas — MAD simply sent copies of each letter to the other sender and the problem went away)…

(Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, Sept. 5; & welcome readers of Blawg Review #179, at Securing Innovation).

April 29 roundup

  • “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
  • 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to “Jeremy C. Virgil”]
  • Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
  • Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
  • Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
  • One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
  • Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
  • If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean’s] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
  • Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
  • Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
  • “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]

*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.

Update: T-shirts critical of Wal-Mart

Updating our Mar. 29, 2006 post: “Computer store owner Charles Smith has won a two-year legal battle with Wal-Mart, which has demanded he stop making and selling T-shirts and other items with slogans such as ‘Wal-ocaust’ and ‘Wal-Qaeda.’ U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. found that Smith’s products qualified as protected noncommercial speech because his goal was to criticize Wal-Mart, not to make a profit from his products. The judge noted that Smith had sold only 62 T-shirts, including 15 to one of Wal-Mart’s outside law firms.” (Janet L. Conley, “Parody of Wal-Mart Trumps Its Trademark”, Fulton County Daily Report, Mar. 26; Likelihood of Confusion, Mar. 22; Randazza, Mar. 23).

Best Buy: sorry for sending that nastygram

First the giant retail chain sent a nastygram to an improvisational troupe that staged an unannounced performance at one of its stores and then sold parody T-shirts that imitated the retailer’s graphics. Then it sent a nastygram to a blog that had reported on the incident. Then, as p.r. disaster loomed, it apologized for sending the nastygram — the second one, at least, the one to the blogger. (Laughing Squid, Dec. 12)(via Turkewitz).

Violence toward Barney, cont’d

For years lawyers representing the owners of the children’s-show character Barney have been firing off cease-and-desist letters to parodists who’ve portrayed various forms of violence being visited on the purple dinosaur (see, for example, Jun. 25, 2001). Now one such exchange has escalated, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued Lyons Partnership, owner of Barney rights, seeking a court’s declaration that Stuart Frankel is not committing infringement by publishing a Barney parody site. (Robert Ambrogi, Legal Blog Watch, Aug. 24). Update Nov. 30: Lyons backs off.

Jay Leno sued over comic routine

This isn’t the first time the Tonight Show’s “Headlines” feature, in which Leno uses real-life news photos as the basis for wisecracks and ridicule, has landed the network and comedian in court. However, a defense lawyer predicts the suit will go nowhere because the audience understood the material to be comedy. (Pam Smith, “Comedian Leno Sued for ‘Sperm Donor’ Joke”, The Recorder, Apr. 12). More “Tonight Show” litigation: Dec. 7, 1999 (flying t-shirt). (Update Jul. 9: court says it will dismiss suit).