Dr. Seuss Enterprises vs. ComicMix LLC et al

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises vs. ComicMix LLC et al

ComicMix. David Gerrold. Dr. Seuss. What do these all have in common? Why, it’s lawsuit time, yet again! And I am here to help you get through it. So if you have been following our Axanar coverage, or the coverage over a the G & T Show, then you’ve got a leg up on anyone who hasn’t. Because this case is similar.

This case was brought in the Southern District of California. And like all other copyright matters, it is a Federal civil case. Hence jail time is not on the table. Instead, we are talking about money.

I am a retired attorney and I am here to guide you through the documents. Please feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer them. We will cover this case even if it settles as we feel it dovetails well with our audience’s interests.

Docket Page

So on the first page, we see that this is a copyright matter, but also that jurisdiction is claimed due to Federal question (e. g. copyright) and what is called diversity jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction is satisfied because the amount in controversy hits the minimum and the plaintiff is in California whereas one of the defendants is a Connecticut corporation and another is a resident of New Jersey. And another defendant is from Toronto.

Furthermore, we learn the full name of the case, to wit:

DR. SEUSS ENTERPRISES, L.P., a California limited partnership, Plaintiff,
v.
COMICMIX LLC, a Connecticut limited liability company; MR. GLENN
HAUMAN, an individual; MR. DAVID JERROLD FRIEDMAN A/K/A DAVID
GERROLD, an individual; and MR. TY TEMPLETON, an individual, Defendants.

And plaintiff is represented by Gina Dunham of DLA Piper, LLP, an international law firm with an office in San Francisco. Ms. Dunham is a partner in the firm and is a 1999 graduate of DePaul University, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif (a legal honor society).

Seuss vs. ComicMix

Seuss vs. ComicMix Docket Page

And now we get into the complaint itself.

Page 1

First of all, the initial page contains the title of the case and serves as a cover page. In addition to Ms. Dunham, the following plaintiff’s lawyers are listed:

  • Tamar Y. Duvdevani (pro hac vice pending) (out of the NYC office) – she is a 2002 graduate of Fordham Law School and her BA is from Cornell
  • Marc E. Miller (pro hac vice pending) (out of the NYC office) – he is a 2010 cum laude graduate of New York Law School
  • Ryan Compton (pro hac vice pending) (out of the DC office) – he is a 2003 graduate of the Emory University School of Law
  • James Stewart (pro hac vice pending) (out of the DC office) – he is a 2014 graduate of the George Washington University School of Law

So apparently, aside from Ms. Dunham, the lawyers handling this matter are all associates in the Piper firm.

Seuss vs. ComicMix

Seuss vs. ComicMix Page 1

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree. Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title. She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need. She can always be bribed with pie.

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4 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Seuss v. ComicMix Amended Complaint | Semantic Shenanigans

  2. Pingback: G & T Show 260 - A Big Redacted Mistake - G & T Show

  3. Great analysis, as usual!

    I’ll add on page 8, there is also a striking similarity between the Seuss text and the Gerrold text. In the bottom picture, the Seuss verse reads, “I’m sorry to say so/ but, sadly, it’s true/ that Bang-ups/ and Hang-ups/ can happen to you.” The Gerrold verse reads, “For I’m sorry to say,/ and this part is true/ that some very bad things/ will happen to you.”

    I don’t know how much legal water it holds, but it would get a big, red “X” from any teacher.

    • Janet Gershen-Siegel

      Agreed – this is a question of fact (for a jury if it gets that far), but the style and even the meter seem to be outright copies, with very few changes. While it may very well be considered to be a true Star Trek parody, it’s no more a parody of Seuss than it would be a parody of the Spanish language if it was written en español.

      Oh, and thank you! 🙂

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