Who hasn’t read, or at least heard of the iconic children’s book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by the famous children’s author and illustrator, the late Dr. Seuss? The book, published in 1990 by Random House, has sold over 11 million copies. According to Time Magazine, it is number 72 on the top 100 children’s books sold.
The copyright holders of the works of Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, filed a preemptive copyright lawsuit against publisher ComicMix. The company is planning to release a “mashup” book titled “Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!”
The title of this upcoming book is a play on the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and a famous tag line from the Star Trek TV show “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” The publisher plans to release the book for the holiday season.
Beside the title, the lawsuit contends that the book infringes on a number of aspects of the Dr. Seuss book, including specialized fonts and illustrations unique to the style of Dr. Seuss and found throughout his work. The complaint also points out that the Kickstarter page for the publisher admits that there may be copyright issues saying, “there may be some people who believe that this might be in violation of their intellectual property rights.”
In light of the suit, the Kickstarter page is no longer viewable. It has raised nearly $30,000 for the project, so far.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but the estate of Dr. Seuss does not take imitation of the author’s work lightly. Dr. Seuss Enterprises also filed a lawsuit several years ago against publisher Penguin Books for copyright infringement over a book called “The Cat NOT in the Hat! A Parody by Dr. Juice” The defendant claimed that the book was merely a parody mocking the O.J. Simpson trial. However, The Ninth Circuit court was not amused and ruled against the publisher.
Not Child’s Play.
Once again, we see that copyright infringement is not child’s play, but serious business that needs serious attention from the copyright holder. Protect your original works because there is no shortage of those who will willingly copy it if you don’t.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter