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EFF Sues Barney Producers over Spoof Sites

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.

154

PetManimal writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the company that produces 'Barney and Friends' for harassing the creator of a Barney parody Web site. Barney producers Lyons Partnership has threatened lawsuits over the past few years against Stuart Frankel and his parody site, actions which the EFF says violates freedom of speech and fair use laws. The parody site contains doctored images of Barney, and claims the purple dinosaur is the Antichrist. From the article: 'Lyons Partnership has sent multiple cease-and-desist letters to Frankel for a Web page that includes a depiction of the fuzzy purple dinosaur as Satan. In an October letter, Lyons demands that Frankel immediately take down copyrighted images of Barney. The company threatens to take legal action or contact Frankel's Internet service provider if he doesn't comply.'"

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Barney's got a brand new bag (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15980254)

I sue you
They sue me
We're all part of a
Lawyer-enriching Copyright industry that contributes little to the public good.

Does that rhyme?

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980261)

Trip Master Monkey, is that you?

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15980552)

Nope. I think TMM picked up his ball and went home because everyone was bashing him for formulaic google-then-wikipedia-link karma-whoring. I could be wrong (and probably am).

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981193)

I just saw a some sad news on Digg - famous Slashdot poster TripMaster Monkey was found dead in his parents' basement this morning. There were not any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you did not enjoy his work, there is no denying his contributions to the Slashdot subculture (subscription FPs, K'Breel, Zonkbonking, etc.). Truly a geek icon.

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981599)

Netcraft confirms it.

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15980320)

> I sue you
> They sue me
> We're all part of a
> Lawyer-enriching Copyright industry that contributes little to the public good.

To the Lyons partners,
Dewey Cheatem, Howe,
Up yours, Barney.
Pay Stu now.

Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980326)

Why does my story [foxnews.com] keep getting rejected about the Endangered Polar Bears in Greenland? This is getting really frustrating. Somebody please RTFA and care a little bit.

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (-1, Offtopic)

tinkertim (918832) | about 8 years ago | (#15980366)

Probably because you're linking to fox news ...

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (-1, Offtopic)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15980383)

Are you implying that the /. moderators have something against Fox News? I thought everybody on /. was fair and impartial?

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (0, Offtopic)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 8 years ago | (#15980695)

Are you implying that the /. moderators have something against Fox News? I thought everybody on /. was fair and impartial?

I think you meant to say "fair and balanced."

Slashdot: We Dupe, you Decide.

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (0, Offtopic)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 8 years ago | (#15980826)

Worse. He is implying Slashdot Editors check the links.

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (1)

Burlap (615181) | about 8 years ago | (#15980490)

or cause this news is BLOODY OLD!!!

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980381)

Umm because this is not a tree hugger website.. WTF does polar bears have to do with news for nerds?

There is a correlation (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15980410)

WTF does polar bears have to do with news for nerds?

If you read the article he linked to, then I think you would see a logical correlation between polar bears and most /. users (myself excluded).

Shrinkage (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 8 years ago | (#15980526)

LOL

They missed the obvious cause of the problem. IT IS COLD THERE.

As George Costanza would say; "I was in the pool!"

Re:Shrinkage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980555)

I'm glad at least one /. reader got a laugh out of it. The rest must've been offended.

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15980422)

Polar Bears drink Coke. They should be drinking Pepsi. Go figure.

Re:Slashdot ALWAYS Rejects my Articles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980775)

You forgot to say "somebody please think of the children!".

And you might read the FAQ about whinning about submissions.

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (5, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | about 8 years ago | (#15980337)

With a knick-knack paddy-whack...

Oh wait, that's the wrong song.

So Barney, who has spent his entire career putting new words to very old songs, is suing someone for parodying his work? That would be like Puff Daddy suing over someone parodying "I'll be Missing You." (And yes I realize that the big purple dinosaur is not really doing the suing but it's more amusing to think of it that way.)

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15980393)

An excellent riposte, sir.

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (5, Funny)

Goweropolis (997862) | about 8 years ago | (#15981230)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a big purple dinosaur. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know - when a man like the defendant makes fun of big purple rhyming dinosaurs, then he is entitled to no less than two million years in jail. Thank you.

R.I.P. Phil Hartman, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer [jt.org]

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (5, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 8 years ago | (#15980691)

What pisses me off is /. didn't link to the site, and the article didn't link to it either. Either they are all afraid of getting sued, or they don't want me to SEE the actual site and make up my own mind whether the site is "parody" (fair use), "satire" (not fair use) or something else.

I did finally find it at this address [dustyfeet.com] and did a whois to make sure the domain is owned by Stuart Frankel. Not much here except some dead links (other threatened sites?) and what appears to be Fair Use to me, but IANAL.

Re:Barney's got a brand new bag (1, Offtopic)

PetManimal (987201) | about 8 years ago | (#15981088)

Pet Manimal angry too. Link [dustyfeet.com] was submitted to Slashdot in morning (seen on EFF website) but Zonk human stripped it out for unknown reason. Maybe he not parent and no get joke.

Parody v. Satire? (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | about 8 years ago | (#15981478)

Parody's fair use, but satire isn't?

What's the difference; wikipedia has lost me

(Parody: "In contemporary usage, a parody is a work that imitates another work in order to ridicule, ironically comment on, or poke affectionate fun at the work itself, the subject of the work, the author or fictional voice of the parody, or another subject.")

(Satire: "Satire is a technique of writing or art which exposes the follies of its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) to ridicule, often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change.")

Is the difference in the immitation?

Re:Parody v. Satire? (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 8 years ago | (#15981763)

An example in a nutshell: The Michael Jackson song "Bad". Weird Al makes a song called "Fat" that is similar to the song "Bad" to make fun of the song "Bad" itself. That is parody.

Now pretend you and I use the same song "Bad" to make fun of George Bush, or IBM, or Microsoft or something EXCEPT the original song/artist/concept itself. That is satire. The song "Bad" is no longer the thing we are making fun of, we are just using it for another purpose. This is NOT fair use.

The difference is the target, not the vehicle. And yes, sometimes it gets cloudy, and what it is your are making fun of may not always be clear. Whether Wikipedia sees it this way, in a court of law (from my limited experience) this is how it is defined.

Or to make it shorter: It is Fair Use to use a copyrighted item to make fun the of the same copyrighted item (parody), but not Fair Use to use a copyrighted item to make fun of something else (satire).

So will I be sued for my Hulk stuff? (2, Interesting)

Hulkster (722642) | about 8 years ago | (#15980259)

I've got a mish-mash of Hulk Stuff [komar.org] up on my site - will these type of people threaten a lawsuit against me ... or just SMASH?!?

P.S. Satire is protected speech - doesn't that apply here in the Barney case?

SLAP worse than smash. (5, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 8 years ago | (#15980415)

will these type of people threaten a lawsuit against me ... or just SMASH?!?

You might think the whole affair is funny, but the ability to use popular culture icons to make a point is what's being defended.

That depends on who you piss off and how many people notice. If both are true, you might get slapped [wikipedia.org] , which makes this kind of harassment worse than it looks at first.

The regulation of broadcast has given tremendous power to those who control it. They have had the ability to mold and use popular culture for a long time. Your inability to use their images and sounds as shortcuts to make a point put you at a disadvantage when you want to argue a point with the public. Cable and the internet has diminished broadcast influence, but there's plenty of concentrated power left as this Barney case illustrates. Ultimately, free culture will level the playing field. An EFF victory here will make others easier.

At stake is your ability to use your culture for your own ends. That ability is only in doubt because copyright law is out of control.

Re:SLAP worse than smash. (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 8 years ago | (#15980650)

Cable and the internet has diminished broadcast influence, but there's plenty of concentrated power left as this Barney case illustrates. Ultimately, free culture will level the playing field.

Not necessarily. If we reach a point [slashdot.org] where the Internet is not a level field [slashdot.org] , then we will be right back where we were twenty years ago: Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. Given that the people in the US with the money and power are directly threatened by free competition, that the people who benefit most from it (We The People) are predominately ignorant of what is happening, and that even those who do know what is happening are too comfortable to make real sacrifices (eg: jail, bodily harm, death) to defend it, how long do you think the free Internet is going to last?

Re:SLAP worse than smash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981107)

You make a good point about copyright law, because in fact they have no case otherwise. There was a Supreme court decision on a public figure paraody case. Shoot what was that called.... on yeah Hustler vs. Falwell [wikipedia.org]
  They have no case.

Re:So will I be sued for my Hulk stuff? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 years ago | (#15980615)

Marvel Comics doesn't go after fan sites unless they have created software/games including the characters or are selling something.

Your Hulk site should be fine.

Re:So will I be sued for my Hulk stuff? (1)

VoxCombo (782935) | about 8 years ago | (#15980647)

Satire is protected speech - doesn't that apply here in the Barney case?


Yes, satire is protected, but the use of copyrighted images is not.

In other words: It's ok for you to draw a picture of Barney for satirical use, but you can't copy their drawing of Barney.

Re:So will I be sued for my Hulk stuff? (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | about 8 years ago | (#15980725)

P.S. Satire is protected speech - doesn't that apply here in the Barney case?

Actually, this is often not the case. Parody has been found to be protected in the majority of fair use cases, which deals primarily with poking fun directly at the copyrighted entity in question; whereas satire is rarely held as fair use, since it uses the copyrighted entity to poke fun at something else.

The real challenge here for the Lyons Partnership will be proving that the Barney Antichrist was satirical in nature. If it was Stuart Frankel's intent all along to make fun of Barney by calling him the Antichrist, then chances are good that he will win the case. Otherwise, he might be in trouble.

Re:So will I be sued for my Hulk stuff? (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | about 8 years ago | (#15980754)

Double posting. Here's a good reference [ufl.edu] that criticizes the difference.

Barney...Isnt he dead? (2, Funny)

dontbflat (994444) | about 8 years ago | (#15980265)

I thought I killed that guy in HL2. Maybe I'll get him in HL3

Re:Barney...Isnt he dead? (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15980443)

That's the problem with NPC's... they just don't know when to stay dead. I been shooting Barney since the Doom days.

Re:Barney...Isnt he dead? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 8 years ago | (#15980462)

Who scored this off topic? Is there really someone who hasn't killed Barney or Kenny?

One Line Of Legal Defense (5, Funny)

Steve B (42864) | about 8 years ago | (#15980268)

The parody site contains doctored images of Barney, and claims the purple dinosaur is the Antichrist.


I dunno about copyright infringement, but they should be safe from any defamation charge -- truth is an absolute defense.

Re:One Line Of Legal Defense (1)

Nesetril (969734) | about 8 years ago | (#15980310)

Barney is not the Antichrist. He is Diablo, Lord of Terror. The difference was explained in a Penny Arcade comic (the second one ever about Fruit F..., iirc). I can't link to it, because their lame advertisements crash Firefox.

Re:One Line Of Legal Defense (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | about 8 years ago | (#15980425)

I read PA in FireFox all the time.

Re:One Line Of Legal Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981049)

<aol metoo="I read PA in FireFox all the time." />

Re:One Line Of Legal Defense (2, Informative)

uncoveror (570620) | about 8 years ago | (#15981150)

If a parody calling Barney the anitchrist is funny, how about a parody calling him an Al-Qaeda terrorist? I did that, and got a similar nastygram. [chillingeffects.org] To publicize these events, I published this [uncoveror.com] and this. [uncoveror.com]

I hope the EFF really lays the smack down on Lyons Partnership.

Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | about 8 years ago | (#15981239)

of wealth and taste

HeHEY!! KIDS!!!

I dunno....doesn't quite work does it?

As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | about 8 years ago | (#15980288)

I've got to know, what's the address of the anti-Barney site???

Re:As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980344)

This may narrow it down for you: What's the address of a non-anti-barney site?

The address (2, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 8 years ago | (#15980371)

Revised Re:The address (4, Informative)

AlgoRhythm (701779) | about 8 years ago | (#15980468)

That's the original site, the current is here [dustyfeet.com] for the intro, and here [dustyfeet.com] for the current saga.

Stuart may relate this on his page (it's been a while since I read it), but from talking to him it basically has escalated, and they chose to sue, because despite an order to only contact him through his lawyers at the EFF, Barney's folks have continued to mail him nastygrams directly.

Re:Revised Re:The address (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981347)

Stuart may relate this on his page (it's been a while since I read it), but from talking to him it basically has escalated, and they chose to sue, because despite an order to only contact him through his lawyers at the EFF, Barney's folks have continued to mail him nastygrams directly.

Awesome. Good for him. That sounds like a clear case of harasment. "Leave me the *&$% alone and talk to my lawyers."

Re:As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980448)

Re:As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (1)

Weasel5053 (910174) | about 8 years ago | (#15980496)

You need cable.

Re:As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (1)

dr_dank (472072) | about 8 years ago | (#15980547)

I wonder if this guy is affiliated with the Anti-Barney League textfiles that I'd find on the BBSes back in the day.

Re:As a prent of 2 toddlers and an infant... (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 8 years ago | (#15980939)

I doubt it. But I remember those.

And Barney Doom?

I for one, welcome our purple satanic overlords (0, Offtopic)

SauroNlord (707570) | about 8 years ago | (#15980299)

:O

Hmm. (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 years ago | (#15980306)

What's the legal standing of taking someone else's photographs and modifying them, even for Satire or Parody?

I'd suggest Frankel make up his own costume and photograph it.

We're quick to take issue when, during a poltical campaign, some photograph of Kerry giving a speech years ago is doctored. I think there is some precedent there. Doesn't it apply equally to what Frankel is doing?

Doctored Kerry photo. (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#15980339)

"during a poltical campaign, some photograph of Kerry giving a speech years ago is doctored. I think there is some precedent there"

I doctored it, and then I undoctored it.

Re:Hmm. (2, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 8 years ago | (#15980801)

I believe the concept of fair use specifically and clearly covers exactly the situation you describe - modifying a copywrited work for parody or satire. Check the "Wind Done Gone" case.

The doctored photos of Kerry were different - they weren't satire or parody. And the furor over them wasn't about copyright violation - it was over the intent to deceive.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Danse (1026) | about 8 years ago | (#15980827)

We're quick to take issue when, during a poltical campaign, some photograph of Kerry giving a speech years ago is doctored. I think there is some precedent there. Doesn't it apply equally to what Frankel is doing?

There's a difference between doctoring something and asserting that it's a true image, and doctoring something as parody. As long as the site is using the images as parody, he should be in the clear. Hell, TV shows do it all the time for purposes of parody.

Re:Hmm. (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 8 years ago | (#15980895)

Satire is NOT covered under Fair Use. Parody is covered. (ie: You can use Barney to make fun of Barney, but not to make fun of something else.) This is why many [company]sucks.org websites use parody as a means to protest against a company, as it is a well tested Fair Use exception.

Using the images of the copyright holder is considered Fair Use if it does not reduce their ability to make a profit (ie: you are giving away an image they charge for) or cause confusion about the intent of what you are doing (reasonable person wouldn't think that it is BARNEY who is saying he is the antichrist).

Changing the image of the copyright holder for the parody, or simply mocking up your own image based on their trademark or copyright is better/safer. The more of the copyrighted material you use in the parody, the closer you get to infringement. The fine line between parody and libel is sometimes up to courts to decide.

IANAL, but deal with this enough, and while there are exceptions, and anyone can sue you even when you are in the right, this is a rough guideline.

Re:Hmm. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#15980955)

Parody is explicitly protected un the US.
He is making a parody of Barney.

No one will got o the site and think it is an actual Barney site, or confuse that site with an offiial site.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 8 years ago | (#15981292)

Every definition of parody uses the word 'imitate'... Not copy directly. Not doctor a photo of... imitate. That means it is NOT the real thing, or a direct image of the real thing.

Calling something/someone the 'antichrist' is not a parody. It's a statement. Drawing a generic purple dinosaur with big red horns would be a parody.

If you don't believe me, try this on for size: Linux is shit. Haha, I parodied. You can't get angry because it's just a parody.

No? Yeah, doesn't work like that. Everyone with half a brain KNOWS Linux isn't shit, but that's a statement and not a parody, so it makes you angry, even when you know I don't mean it.

Now if I drew a penguin that was crawling across the ground half-dead looking, reaching towards a 4-color window... That's a parody. I didn't name the penguin, the window, or anything in it. But you get the point and I haven't made any actual statements about the items in question. (And I didn't use the real logos for it.)

Did the lawyers read the dmca law? (3, Interesting)

tinkertim (918832) | about 8 years ago | (#15980307)

If these guys even glanced at the DMCA laws they would kick themselves in the legal checkbook. Anyone who operates a hosting company , even one on the side knows when the formal DMCA notice arrives, you must yank the site unless the owner can furnish a court ruling allowing it to exist. Depending on your upstream provider, some will go to bat if you can show your client is at least in litigation with the complaining party .. and wait for the outcome, but that's rare. Anyone hosted in infomart (or on level3, cogent, willtell , etc bandwidth) or any other 'cafeteria style' DC is under a yank-first-and-ask-questions-later policy.

That being said, such a court ruling would almost be automatic. Parody sites are protected, I helped one of my clients stand up against the big bad e-bay and they won. I'd post a link, but .. well I don't feel like going to the DC with a fire extinguisher to put out the nic :)

I've never, ever seen someone threaten to go to the isp *last* .. how did this feeble gray matter manage to cook up something that took over children's television for years?

At this point their lawyers saying anything other than "Duh!" would be almost as comical as the parody itself.

What a world.

Re:Did the lawyers read the dmca law? (4, Interesting)

jafiwam (310805) | about 8 years ago | (#15980414)

I was under the impression it was a "take it down till the site operator tells the host they are taking care of it".

Basically, forcing the host to be a pass through of information or just to take it down. Effectively removing the host as a protector of the site. (I.e. "we just host it, you need to contact the webmaster" while the webmaster has no available contacts and is trying to remain anonymous.)

The operator does NOT need to show proof of anything other than that they are aware of the notice the host recieved and that they are contesting it. So "no, it's not a violation, put it back." is good enough.

At that point, the host is out of it and it's between the operator and the person or company that is complaining. Otherwise, you are asking the host to act as an agent of the court, or to BE the court.

Re:Did the lawyers read the dmca law? (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | about 8 years ago | (#15980712)

National Assoication of Media Lawyers of America or NAMBLA [slashdot.org] posted several articles what they deem the correct procedure for executing DMCA enforcement under a wide range of circumstances including unresponsive ISPs.

Ean St Eane (3, Funny)

pottymouth (61296) | about 8 years ago | (#15980324)



I thought people would learn not to mess with Barney when he had Ean St Eane kneecapped.... Geez, I wouldn't want to get on his bad side.

Re:Ean St Eane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980379)

That is perhaps the most obscure Bob & Tom reference I've ever seen. I swear to god it is.

Hey do you want to buy my boat?

Donnie Baker

Let's back up from this a bit.... (4, Insightful)

StressGuy (472374) | about 8 years ago | (#15980354)

We are mobilizing armies of lawyers for a legal battle between a show about a stuffed purple dinosaur and a website that makes fun of the stuffed purple dinosaur.

seriously, isn't life a little too short for this?

Re:Let's back up from this a bit.... (1)

baomike (143457) | about 8 years ago | (#15980822)

>

It is, until it's your speach than someone wants to stop.

Nothing wrong with a little censorship as long as I am the censor.

Re:Let's back up from this a bit.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981316)

No, this is serious. The issue is use of content for a parody, which is supposed to be regarded as fair use. Lose that right, and you lose the right to do many things. Suppose you criticize McDonald's. Remember, their name and logos are their property. With no fair use rights, you could be sued for using any of them, even for legitimate criticism or parody. So, how exactly do you criticize McDonald's when you could be sued for simply mentioning their name in your criticism?

Remember, copyright was never intended to be a blanket protection of a work. Unfortunately, many people either don't know that, or they try to prevent others from knowing it, but it's true. Criticism and parody are legitimate reasons to use a copyrighted work. Without the ability to do that, it will be extremely difficult to hold corporations and their works up for public scrutiny.

Better take down my Steve Ballmer parody site! (3, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 8 years ago | (#15980360)

...because on there I've mentioned about him having a long golden mane of hair, being a lover of fine antique chairs and being a wonderfully agile dancer, equal in agility to Nureyev.

Better take it down quick before Microsoft come after me!

Do you think they'll let me keep up the bit about him saying "Linux is like a cute little Golden Retriever puppy that everyone wants to cuddle forever"?

Re:Better take down my Steve Ballmer parody site! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981417)

Be careful what you ask for...

Barney Protected, Teletubbies Less So (2, Insightful)

Dunx (23729) | about 8 years ago | (#15980404)

This is good news, but it's a shame that the EFF couldn't have stepped in years ago when the producers of the Teletubbies shut down all of those parody sites. The difference may have been to do with variations in national laws (no explicit free speech rights in the UK, AFAIR) - I hope it's not just time.

HR Pufnstuf never dreamed of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980498)

This is good news, but it's a shame that the EFF couldn't have stepped in years ago when the producers of the Teletubbies shut down all of those parody sites.

I guess everyone has seen this by now [pagetutor.com] ?

True Story (4, Funny)

StressGuy (472374) | about 8 years ago | (#15980429)

Years ago, I worked as a civilian contractor at an Army Guard base. One of the secretaries there was a bit heavyset and a bit "top-heavy" as well. One day, she comes in wearing a purple sweater and somebody makes an obligitory Barney reference, at which point, she flips him off

Would that be considered fair use?

Re:True Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981028)

reminds me of high school being in the marching band. Our color guard was a little on the large side and one year their outfits were purple spandex. Being the rational level headed highschoolers that we were we showed the utmost restraint...I only had one tooth chipped by a flag being wielded by a purple dinosaur.

Whaaaa? (1)

MikeyTheK (873329) | about 8 years ago | (#15980487)

If you're the EFF, and you're looking to pick a fight, why would you pick THIS fight over THIS character?

The EFF is fighting for mindshare and clout among American households. So...they...choose...to...sue...to...uphold...some one's...right...to...mock...and...deride...a...bel oved...children's...character?!?!?!?! Why would you risk alienating families? There has got to be more than this than "We can be more ACLU than YOU"

Re:Whaaaa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980569)

Because this is so blatantly open-and-shut for the parody site that it's a non issue.
And the reprocussions of the suit being upheld would be horrid (bye bye freedom of parody).

Re:Whaaaa? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 8 years ago | (#15980678)

It's a pity, but sometimes I guess that the only people who will stand up and fight for this sort of thing are the kind that (I personally) would be least interested in protecting. The people who make nice fluffy happy friendly good stuff don't seem to (as a gross generalization) possess the same sort of element that will make them either a) create things like that or b) fight so hard to keep what they have created.

I remember reading some Libertarian magazine (Reason) about Disney's war against the counterculture [reason.com] . They have all sorts of points, but the thing is, when people look at this Counterculture stuff, it's not something they're going to sympathize with and it probably isn't helping The Cause or anything like that.

Re:Whaaaa? (0)

Grech (106925) | about 8 years ago | (#15980689)

Barney, the beloved purple dinosaur, is a myth, or at least only true for a certain value of beloved.

Said saurian is essentially an oversized stuffed animal who delivers age-appropriate pablum to small children without any of the redeeming wit of a Sesame Street [youtube.com] , which at least recognizes that parents often wind up parked in front of this stuff too, or at least exposed to it indirectly.

In short, beloved perhaps by children, but not so much by their elders.

beloved? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 8 years ago | (#15981739)


So...they...choose...to...sue...to...uphold...some one's...right...to...mock...and...deride...a...bel oved...children's...character?

Funny, when Barney first came out I remember a lot of people making fun of him. I've only seen clips of him, but he's pretty annoying to anyone over the age of 8 or 9. Why do you think there's so many parody sights?

How about Purple Dinosaur Massacre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980508)

Anyone remember that stress relief Dos game?

I needed it at one time, but I am better now!

1st Amendment and Parody (2, Informative)

Stranger4U (153613) | about 8 years ago | (#15980517)

The US Court System has previously ruled (need a reference here) that parody is protected under the First Amendment. That's how people like Weird Al get away with what they do. I doubt that the website seriously considers Barney to be either Satan or the Antichrist, so it's a parody, it's protect, no lawsuit.

I'm sure all the lawyers know this and were just trying to bully the website into closing, knowing they couldn't win a trial.

Weird Al is not the best example to mention (1)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#15980570)

"The US Court System has previously ruled (need a reference here) that parody is protected under the First Amendment. That's how people like Weird Al get away with what they do."

Weird Al is not the best one to mention. He always tries to get permission from the original songwriters. In instances where he did not get permission ("Amish Paradise"), there was a communication mix-up and Weird Al was under the false impression he had gotten permission.

Re:Weird Al is not the best example to mention (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 8 years ago | (#15980880)

Weird Al does this because he is a decent guy and smart enough to know that he is part of an industry that relies on personal relationships, and he wants to keep good relations.

In the instance you pointed out ("Amish Paradise", I believe), lawsuits were never even mentioned. Just a pissed off rapper mouthing off. Is that redundant?

Re:1st Amendment and Parody (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | about 8 years ago | (#15980584)

That's how people like Weird Al get away with what they do

You mean people should call and ask permission like Weird Al does?

The concert only stuff is called "concert only" for a reason. Either Al had a brief idea and the joke wouldn't survive a full length song, or permission was denied or never attempted.

They should settle it by ... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 years ago | (#15980531)

Why cant they settle it by a game of Rock Paper and Scissors?

Hope the judge follows the precedence set by another federal judge, as he ordered here. [cnn.com]

Re:They should settle it by ... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15980834)

Why cant they settle it by a game of Rock Paper and Scissors?
Because Barney doesn't have enough fingers to make Scissors.

Speaking about the Antichrist angle... (5, Interesting)

T_ConX (783573) | about 8 years ago | (#15980562)

I found this on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ...

1. Barney is well-described with the following phrase:
CUTE PURPLE DINOSAUR
2. The old Latin alphabet used the letter 'V' in place of 'U', therefore the above phrase is modified to:
CVTE PVRPLE DINOSAVR
3. Letters that do not represent Roman numerals are removed:
CV-- -V--L- DI----V-
4. Add up the Roman numerals of the remaining letters:
C + V + V + L + D + I + V
100 + 5 + 5 + 50 + 500 + 1 + 5 = 666, which is the Number of the Beast.
5. Therefore, Barney is considered Satan.


HA! Because Numerology is TOTALY admisable in court!

Re:Speaking about the Antichrist angle... (1)

clear_thought_05 (915350) | about 8 years ago | (#15981364)

Step 3 seems totally arbritrary. Yes, I understand it is humor, but I could just as well say "Letters that I don't like are removed" and derive some other meaning.

Back from the dead! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15980605)

Barney's alive?? Didn't I kill that bastard in a Doom wad in 1995 that nobody prosecuted?

Barney as the antichrist (1)

GnarlyNome (660878) | about 8 years ago | (#15980662)

You mean he isn't ?
You've never had 4 toddlers on a saturday morning ....AAAARG!

Back off the gunwales, me hearty! (1)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#15980815)

"You've never had 4 toddlers on a saturday morning ....AAAARG!"

I know, I know, you just can't help it. But it's still a few weeks until the day [talklikeapirate.com]

Good 'ole Barny (2, Funny)

dubdays (410710) | about 8 years ago | (#15980682)

...claims the purple dinosaur is the Antichrist.

Well, I guess the truth hurts.

Right to parody is not the issue here (0, Troll)

Atroxodisse (307053) | about 8 years ago | (#15980693)

The only issue is if he has the right to take copyrighted material, the pictures he doctored, and post it on his website.

Whose Free Speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15980873)

When does parody become harrassment? Satire, even satire I like gets pretty tiresome after a while. If it goes on long enough, why _can't_ satire be harrassment, too? Why can't the Barney producers be exercising _their_ right of free speech by letters threatening to sue?

Come to think of it, why do slashdotters automatically assume that targets of satire have no right to free speech?

Hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15981087)

I, for one, welcome our new fuzzy, purple overlords.

Insane IP laws (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 8 years ago | (#15981271)

Hey, if you don't like it, go to Russia.

I was chased by a 6-foot-tall barney once. (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 8 years ago | (#15981272)

In Ocean City. On vacation. Walking around town with some friends, pretty buzzed. They told Barney to hug me. I said no. Barney started chasing me. I had to run a block to escape his clutches.

True story. I have disliked Barney significantly more since that incident.

A devout fan (1)

mantar (941076) | about 8 years ago | (#15981719)

As a devout fan of the cuddly purple dinosaur, and a close personal friend, I can say quite positively that Barney has no ill fellings towards this parody master. In his words: "All the great entertainers are made fun of... that someone would waste their time long enough to call me the anti-christ, is just another sign of my greatness".

BTW, Barney just finished filming an E! True Hollywood story to be aired sometime next month. The title of this episode is called "Peaking Under the Purple Rug: The Life of Barney". It chronologically covers his career starting with: "Jurassic Stardom", "How a Sex Change Changed My Life", "Purple, Die!", and finishing with "Mediarights Caused My Extinction".
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