A New York law firm is threatening to sue Happy and other clowns if they don’t stop dressing as purple dinosaurs or red dogs in their shows at children’s birthday parties. Those characters, the firm alleges, are too much like Barney and Clifford the Dog.
And no more Mr. Conductor or Bob the Builder look-alikes either.
Happy’s smile — and those of at least a dozen other Bay Area clowns — started to crack in the last week when they received letters from Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP, a Madison Avenue firm that represents the owners of the rights to Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine and Clifford.
“Plaintiffs will not tolerate costume infringement,” says the letter. “In view of your infringing conduct, plaintiffs have instructed this law firm to file suit against you and your business.”
To settle without going to court, the letter says the clowns should stop using the costumes, surrender them, pay $100,000 and sign an agreement never to use the characters again. The firm says its clients could be awarded damages of up to $150,000 per character if it wins a court case.
Snocap, the digital music company founded by Napster creator Sean Fanning, is testing a new service that enables bands to sell their music from Web sites like MySpace.
Snocap’s Linx service is also designed to let online retailers sell music from the company’s vast registry of songs. It has distribution deals with Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group (EMI.L) and Warner Music (NYSE:WMG – news), along with a number of independent labels.
The U.S. government’s crackdown on media indecency could prevent World War Two veterans from sharing their stories in an upcoming TV documentary series by Ken Burns, the head of the Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday.
[…] [PBS president and CEO Paula] Karger said she had unsuccessfully tried to get advance clearance for the documentary from the five members of the Republican-controlled broadcast regulator. But the FCC’s policy is not to deliver an opinion before a broadcast.
Under the terms of the deal, Kazaa’s owner Sharman Networks will pay the world’s four major music companies — Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music — more than $100 million and commit to immediately going legal, said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
[…] Ovum analyst Jonathan Arber said the settlement would have a mostly symbolic importance, as Kazaa was past its prime.
“It’s nowhere near as popular as it used to be. Very few people are thought to be using it anymore because better services came out,” he said. “It is a big legal victory, a good symbol for them to put out, but in terms of actually reducing piracy, people migrated to other file-sharing networks a long time ago.”
Analyst Eric Garland of BigChampagne, which tracks file-sharing networks, said the entertainment industry faces a crossroads: It can develop business models that embrace Internet distribution or engage in an even more aggressive anti-piracy campaign against people who download copyrighted works.
“Are we really going to see, at this late date, more and more court actions against kids and soccer moms or are we going to see a shift?” he said. “Are we going to declare victory, based on these big wins, and move on to the carrot?”