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Looking left and looking right,
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has a target in sight:
A bold Star Trek mash-up that might
be violating its trademarks and copyright.
On Friday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed a complaint in California federal court that alleges that ComicMix is violating the intellectual property created by Theodor S. Geisel. At issue is a crowd-funded book project titled Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!
On Kickstarter, the defendants raised tens of thousands of dollars to create an amalgamation of Star Trek and Dr. Seuss. Thanks to the legal dispute, the project is no longer being offered up on Kickstarter, but the lawsuit details “Defendant’s slavish copying of the Dr. Seuss Copyrighted Works, which attempt to recreate entire pages from the Dr. Seuss Books with meticulous precision.”
Here’s an example from the court papers:
The lawsuit follows a complaint filed by CBS and Paramount Pictures over another crowd-funded project — a professional-quality “fan film” titled Axanar.
This time, CBS and Paramount aren’t yet involved, but Dr. Seuss Enterprises has marched to court with the allegation that defendants have acted without any authorization from the respective rights-holders. Among the copyrighted works claimed to be infringed are Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Horton Hears a Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Lorax and The Sneetches and Other Stories. The plaintiff also asserts the mashup will create confusion in the minds of the public as to Dr. Seuss’s approval or licensing.
The lawsuit isn’t catching defendants completely off-guard.
According to the complaint, in a section on its Kickstarter page presenting the “risks and challenges” to the project, the defendants proclaimed, “While we firmly believe that our parody, created with love and affection, fully falls within the boundary of fair use, there may be some people who believe that this might be in violation of their intellectual property rights. And we may have to spend time and money proving it to people in black robes. And we may even lose that.”
Copyright infringement or fair use?
Here’s the complaint from Dr. Seuss
One side will win
And one side will lose.
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