August 11, 2009

Chilling Effect [6:57 am]

Lego Prohibits Use of Product in Spinal Tap DVD (pdf)

“We love that our fans are so passionate and so creative with our products,” said Julie Stern, a spokeswoman for Lego Systems, the United States division of the Lego Group, a Danish company founded in the 1930s. “But it had some inappropriate language, and the tone wasn’t appropriate for our target audience of kids 6 to 12.”

As is Spinal Tap’s wont, the song, addressed to a minor, parodies rock stars’ inflated egos and libidos.

Kia Kamran, an intellectual property lawyer representing Spinal Tap, said the band could have prevailed had Lego sued alleging copyright infringement, because Mr. Hickey’s video does not show the brand’s logo and is satirical. But the band did not deem the fight worth the expense, he said.

“In my heart of hearts, I do think this is fair use” of copyrighted material, Mr. Kamran said.

[...] “Lego are the only people who strictly said no,” [Harry] Shearer said. “It was Lego Kafka.”

Well, of course it was — it’s a copyright fight over fair use!

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