By: QuenDesmond Kellum
Sesame Street, a longtime favorite of children and adults and staple of PBS since 1969, is seeking a remedy based on their dispute with STX Productions, the producers of “The Happytime Murders.” The Happytime Murders is a film centers around being killed and depicts a more adult puppet life. The film premiered on August 17, 2018 and consumers and fans of the long-running Sesame Street feel their trust has been broken and they are appalled at the actions of this film.
Sesame Workshop filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against STX Productions over the use of its trademark. STX through the advertising for the film used the saying, “ No Sesame. All Street.” The claim is that STXs use of the trademark has left the Sesame brand tarnished, and that the movie does not uphold Sesame Workshop’s message of “helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”
Another example comes to mind: Do you all remember when comedian Al Franken wrote the book, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right and Fox News sued him over the use of the phrase “fair and balanced”? Not only did Fox News lose its trademark case against Franken, but the book shot up the bestseller list, occupying the number 1 slot (up from number 489 prior to the lawsuit) thanks to all the extra attention. In fact, the publisher moved up the release date and ordered extra printings. In the Fox News case, Judge Chin took the network to task in a court proceeding that was filled with laughter after several outlandish claims, such as when Fox’s attorney said the message of Franken’s book was ambiguous, in response to Chin’s incredulity that a reasonable consumer would actually think that conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly was endorsing a book with the word “lies” written over his face. Chin, siding with Franken, called Fox News’s motion “wholly without merit.”
We must as intellectual HUSLers must always be sure we know the laws and regulations that can be brought up in cases we handle.
What do you think?