Seuss v. ComicMix Defense Summary Judgment Motion Granted in Part

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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The Seuss v. ComicMix Defense Summary Judgment Motion Has Been Granted in Part

So, the ComicMix case continues! I analyze it here.

Seuss vs. ComicMix

Seuss vs. ComicMix case – Page 9 of the Original Complaint

Despite what you may have heard or read elsewhere, this case is far from over.

Instead, the court heard a defense motion for summary judgment. And the results were, shall we say, not too far in favor of either side. Instead, the court ruled partly in the defense’s favor, and partly in the plaintiff’s favor. Here are the details.

ComicMix Motion

So, the original motion for summary judgment essentially hit three separate points:

  1. The use of the Seuss images, backgrounds, etc. constitutes fair use and, therefore, is not copyright infringement.
  2. Using the Seuss-style font and language did not constitute an instance of trademark infringement.
  3. And, finally, the defense’s book was not an occasion of unfair competition.

The Court’s Ruling

The court said, in a nutshell:

  • The court cannot decide the fair use question as a matter of law. Therefore, because questions of fact remain, this case is far from over.
  • You’re right! It’s not trademark infringement. Let’s wipe that part of the complaint.
  • And you’re also right about it not being an instance of unfair competition. So let’s erase that bit from the complaint as well.
  • Furthermore, the plaintiff now has the right to amend the complaint, not only to delete the unfair competition and trademark violation allegations, but also to address some of the fair use questions.

And then, undoubtedly, somebody banged a gavel.

What it all Means

I am including a short (it’s fifteen minutes long) video where I pull apart the ruling in a bit more depth. We will probably see an amended complaint by August or so, if I had to guess.

In the meantime, we are still taking the summer (kind of) off. Hence any follow ups will be short and sweet. Stay cool and bang that gavel!

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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